The liver transplantation process includes a referral from your primary care physician, an evaluation at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, placement on the transplantation waiting list, the transplant surgery and then follow-up care. See a video about liver transplant and see the phases outlined below with several pages detailing each phase during the liver transplant process.
Phase One: Referral and Evaluation
When patients are referred to be evaluated for a liver transplant, they will be assigned a transplant nurse coordinator, who will facilitate communication between the patient and the transplant team through the entire transplant process. The transplant nurse coordinator will collect the appropriate medical records and schedule a transplant evaluation.
The patient will have a comprehensive evaluation by all members of our transplant team, including the transplant physicians, transplant surgeons, transplant nurse coordinators. Patients may be also talk to dietitians, anesthesiologists, psychologists, social workers and financial coordinators. Appropriate lab and radiological testing also will be performed. Based on a thorough evaluation, the team will determine if the patient is a candidate for transplant.
Phase Two: Patient Listed & Awaiting Transplant
Transplant candidates are placed on a transplant waiting list through the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).
UNOS assists with the matching and sharing of organs throughout the U.S. This national list prioritizes organ allocation on the basis of the each patient’s MELD score (a measure of the severity of illness), blood type and geographic location.
Phase Three: Transplantation
Once a potential matching donor organ is available for transplantation, a transplant coordinator will notify the patient to come to Barnes-Jewish Hospital. A final round of testing will determine if the donor liver is a good match for the patient. If it is, the patient will undergo transplant surgery.
After the surgery, the transplant team will follow the patient closely during recovery. Liver transplant patients spend an average of seven to 10 days in the hospital after surgery, if there are no complications.
In the first few weeks after being discharged from the hospital, the patient will be return to the hospital frequently to be seen in our outpatient clinic.
Phase Four: Follow-up after Transplantation
Once the patient is home, there will be regular contact with the nurse coordinator, regular testing and periodic visits to Barnes-Jewish Hospital for follow-up exams. Over time, more routine care will be transitioned to the primary care physician. For continuity of care and to ensure the best outcomes, we follow our patients for the life of their transplant.
For more information on the liver transplant program at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, call