Nationally Ranked Liver Transplant Program
Our outcomes are among the best in the nation despite the fact that we place very sick people on the liver transplant waitlist. Many have multiple medical problems and have been turned down by other centers.
Liver transplant surgery may be in your future if you have liver failure due to chronic liver disease. Choosing the right liver transplant program can help ensure you live a long, healthy life after surgery. National data rank Duke's adult liver transplant program as one of the three best in the U.S. both for getting a deceased-donor transplant faster and for one-year liver survival. We offer comprehensive evaluation and care to people with liver disease -- including many who have been turned down by other centers -- and have performed more than 1,700 transplants since our program was established in 1984.
If you are interested in making an appointment for an evaluation, please ask your hepatologist to submit a referral.
Why Choose Duke
Nationally Ranked Liver Transplant Program
Shorter Wait Times Compared with Other U.S. Centers
Median time to transplant for patients on Duke’s waitlist was 91 days, compared with 265 days nationally.
Experienced Transplant Surgeons
The latest Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR) data show that Duke’s liver transplant surgeons are among the most experienced in the nation. Many hold leadership positions at the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) and other national transplant organizations. Our organ transplant experts have the collective experience to perform multi-organ transplants -- including heart-liver, liver-lung, and liver-small bowel-pancreas (multivisceral) -- and to handle virtually any situation that arises.
Dedicated Hospital Unit for Transplant Patients
Our solid organ transplant unit is dedicated to caring for people throughout their organ transplant journey, whether they are waiting for a transplant, recovering from surgery, or are returning to the hospital. The unit is staffed by a dedicated team of providers experienced in caring for people undergoing liver, kidney, small bowel, pancreas, or intestinal transplants. These include doctors, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, patient coordinators, and more. Patients and their families can establish relationships with our providers and staff and feel secure in the hospital environment.
Liver transplant surgery is performed at Duke University Hospital. Pre- and post-transplant appointments take place at our hepatology clinic in Durham.
Opportunities for HIV-Positive-to-HIV-Positive Liver Transplantation
A new protocol allows organs from HIV-positive donors to be considered eligible for transplant into people with liver failure who are also HIV-positive. This widens the pool of organs available to those who are HIV-positive and can significantly shorten the wait time for a liver transplant. Duke is one of 22 centers in the U.S. authorized to perform HIV-positive-to-HIV-positive liver transplants with deceased donors (and one of five with living donors). In 2017 we performed the first such deceased-donor surgery in the Southeast.
Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why we are once again recognized as the best hospital in North Carolina, and nationally ranked in 11 adult and 9 pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report for 2021–2022.
Providing the Support You Need
Guiding You Through the Process
Our transplant coordinators are nurses specially trained in liver transplant care. They help you navigate the transplant process and are available to answer all your questions 24/7, from the initial evaluation through follow-up care. They also provide training and resources to prepare you and your family for transplant. Dedicated financial coordinators work with you one-on-one to help with the financial aspects of transplantation.
Access to Duke Specialists
Receiving care at Duke means that you’ll have access to a wide range of experts, should you need them. In addition to liver and other medical specialists, you’ll also be connected with social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, and others who will tend to your mental and emotional needs. We can also put you in touch with former Duke liver transplant recipients who have volunteered to talk with people who are starting the process.
Research to Improve the Transplant Process
Our doctors are leaders in transplantation research on best practices and new therapies. We are looking for ways to improve the liver transplant process and to tailor immunosuppression drugs to prevent rejection and limit side effects. We also study how to make more donor organs viable. This may one day increase the supply of livers available for transplantation. As a patient at Duke, you may be eligible to participate in these and other clinical trials.