The Liver Transplant Evaluation Process

Before you can be considered for liver transplantation, our liver transplant team will perform a thorough evaluation of your health. Your nurse coordinator and schedulers will arrange this for you. The purpose of this evaluation is to determine just how damaged your liver is and whether liver transplantation is the best treatment option for you.

During the evaluation, you and your family may have many questions about the evaluation and what to expect when it is over. Various members of the liver transplant team will be available to answer your questions.

Tests

Many different tests will be done during the evaluation to determine how damaged your liver is and to determine if there are other physical problems, such as heart, kidney or lung conditions, which might rule out liver transplant.

The following tests and procedures may be done:

• Chest X-ray
• Electrocardiogram (EKG)
• CT or MRI scan
• Doppler ultrasound (looks at blood flow through the vessels to your liver)
• HIV test
• Dobutamine stress echocardiogram or "stress test" (looks at blood flow through the heart and the valves of your heart)
• Liver biopsy (a needle is inserted though your side into your liver to take a very small tissue sample to help diagnose your disease; medication to numb the area will be given before the biopsy is taken)
• Endoscope (a tube is inserted, either into your stomach to look for bleeding or into your colon to look for bleeding or cancer potential)
• Pulmonary function tests (special breathing tests to check your lungs)
• Additional tests or procedures may be ordered by consulting physicians

After the evaluation, your case will be discussed at a Liver Transplant Selection Committee Meeting. The liver transplant team will then decide if liver transplantation is the best treatment option for you. If it is, liver transplantation will be discussed with you in more detail.

Some of the things that might prevent you from getting a liver transplant include:

• Continuing to use alcohol or illegal drugs
• Being at high risk of using drugs or alcohol again after the surgery
• Failing to follow your doctor's instructions, such as taking your medicine when you are not supposed to
• Having too little support from people at home to care for you after the operation
• Having advanced cancer of the liver
• Having another kind of cancer in the past three to five years
• Severe heart, lung or kidney disease
• Severe hardening of the arteries
• Systemic infections