You will undergo an extensive evaluation to help determine if liver transplantation is the best treatment for your liver disease. You and your caregiver will meet with members of the transplant team for a complete medical, psychosocial, and financial evaluation. You will also undergo testing that is tailored to your health condition. The process may take several days, depending on which tests and screenings you need. Your transplant team will help you plan your visit.
Reasons for a Liver Transplant
Chronic liver failure, also called end-stage liver disease, occurs when your liver is so damaged that it can no longer perform important tasks, such as removing toxins from your body. The causes of end-stage liver disease vary but may include:
Liver transplant surgery is performed at Duke University Hospital. Pre- and post-transplant appointments take place at our hepatology clinic in Durham.
Am I a Candidate for Liver Transplant?
Our liver transplant team will consider several factors during your evaluation. Our goals are to determine:
- The extent of your liver disease
- The health of your other body systems
- Your willingness to follow program guidelines, such as abstaining from alcohol and other drugs
- If a liver transplant is the best treatment for you
If you are interested in making an appointment for an evaluation, please ask your hepatologist to submit a referral.
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.
After the evaluation is complete, the liver transplant committee meets to discuss your results and determines whether a liver transplant should be your next step. The committee can make one of these decisions:
- A liver transplant is a good option for you, and you should move forward with the transplant process.
- More information is needed before they can make a decision. You may need to see more specialists or have more tests before they can decide if liver transplant is best for you.
- A liver transplant is not the best option for you at this time.
If you are a suitable candidate, your financial coordinator will work with your health insurance to seek approval for the liver transplant surgery. Once surgery is approved, you will have blood work done to determine your MELD (Model for End-Stage Liver Disease) score. This ranks your degree of sickness and how quickly you need a liver transplant. If you do not already have a living donor, your name will be placed on the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) national waiting list for liver transplantation.