Liver transplants are considered only when there is a high risk of liver disease. Two main groups of patients are considered candidates for liver transplantation. The first group involves patients with cirrhosis who develop liver failure. Cirrhosis due to hepatitis C is currently the number one cause for liver transplantation in the western world. The second group includes patients who suddenly develop acute liver failure from one of a number of causes such as an overdose of acetaminophen, acute viral hepatitis, acute autoimmune hepatitis or an idiosyncratic drug reaction.
Preparing for Surgery
Patients undergo an extensive medical evaluation which involves the following exams and tests:
Many of the required medical tests may be performed locally, if desired, in collaboration with the patient’s primary care physician. We encourage the required medical tests to be completed at Hahnemann. Our goal is to complete the entire evaluation process and have the patient listed for transplantation within one month.
When a Liver Becomes Available In most cases, blood type determines the compatibility for liver transplants. Surgeons must closely match the blood type and size of the donor liver to the recipient.
When a Liver Becomes Available
Preparing for Surgery Before surgery, all blood work is drawn for the recipient. An intravenous line will be inserted in the arm or just under the collarbone to give medication and prevent dehydration. The patient will also receive a sedative to help him or her relax before going to the operating room.
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