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Liver Transplant

A liver transplant is a procedure in which surgeons remove a diseased liver and replace it with either a whole liver (from a deceased donor) or a part of a healthy liver (from a living donor, often a family member). Healthy liver tissue can regenerate itself, meaning a partial liver can grow back into a full-sized liver over time.

When a person is in the end stages of liver failure, a liver transplant becomes critical. The most common reason for liver failure is cirrhosis caused by hepatitis C. Other conditions that may necessitate a liver transplant include alcohol-related cirrhosis, primary liver cancer, diseases of the bile ducts, and some genetic conditions.

Because there are many more people who need a liver transplant than there are available livers, people often wait for months or years on a national transplant waiting list before they receive a new liver. The transplant list is prioritized so that the sickest people are at the top of the list.

Emory performed its first liver transplant in 1987 and today performs over 60 adult liver transplants each year. Emory University Hospital has a long tradition of end-stage liver disease treatment and portal hypertension care.

The Emory liver transplant team has the combined expertise necessary to perform the sophisticated, life-saving surgical procedures involved in liver transplantation and to provide superior care to patients both before and after transplantation.

To learn more, please visit Emory's Liver Transplant Program.


Liver Transplant Cholangiocarcinoma Treatment:

The Emory Transplant Center offers a new protocol to treat bile duct cancer, an aggressive disease that tends to spread locally. Combining radiation and chemotherapy with a liver transplant, this protocol ensures that all of the cancer is removed during surgery and offers hope to patients diagnosed with this historically lethal disease.

Transplant Immunology Research - Immunosuppressive Drugs:

Emory is at the forefront of transplant immunology research, using groundbreaking strategies to prevent rejection of transplanted organs by establishing true immune tolerance with drugs that are less toxic and have less side effects (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, kidney toxicity and diabetes) than traditional immunosuppressants.

Domino Liver Transplant:

In July 2009, transplant surgeons at Emory University Hospital were the first in the state of Georgia to perform a very rare domino liver transplant procedure. In effect, the procedure is saving two lives and curing one rare disease (Maple Syrup Urine Disease), and dramatically improving the quality of life in the other patient, who has suffered a lifetime battle with hemophilia, and more recently hepatitis C.

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