Evaluation for Transplant Candidates
Once your primary physician refers you as a potential candidate, you will be given a pre-transplant evaluation. This includes:
- Personal interview
- Visits with a social worker and financial counselor
- Complete medical work up including lab tests, abdominal ultrasound and/or CT scan, psychological clearance, colonoscopy, EKG and other tests
The transplant team will review the evaluation results, and if they find that you would be a good candidate for a transplant, and financial arrangements are in order, you will be officially listed on the recipient waiting list with the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).
Planning for Your Evaluation
The evaluation can take four to six hours or longer. Some patients may prefer to spend the night near the hospital if they live out of town. Please contact us at the number below if you need a hotel recommendation.
The evaluation process also involves scheduling of tests and other physician referrals, so it may take several weeks to complete the evaluation and place a patient on the transplant waiting list.
Sometimes, people wait only a few days or weeks before receiving a donor organ. If no living-related donor is available, it may take months or years on the waiting list before a suitable donor organ is available. During this time, you will receive close follow-up with your physicians and the transplant team. Various support groups are also available to assist you during this waiting time.
Patients listed for a liver transplant are tested at intervals and assigned a Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) score based on a system regulated by UNOS. The MELD score indicates a liver patient's health. Patients with higher scores are given priority for transplants. Patients who have sudden onset, rapidly worsening liver disease and are currently in intensive care with a life expectancy of less than seven days are given priority, as well.
Preparing for Your Transplant
Generally, transplant outcomes improve when patients are in the best possible shape. We encourage patients to use the waiting period as a time to lose weight, if necessary, to enrich personal relationships, to find and use ways to reduce stress and to improve diet and exercise habits. For patients who are currently smokers, they should quit as soon as possible.
Keeping in Touch with the Transplant Team
If a patient is listed on the recipient waiting list, the transplant team needs to be able to reach them quickly. If there is any change of telephone number, address, insurance or medical condition, the transplant coordinator must be informed right away.