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Pre-Liver-Transplant Process

Before Your Liver Transplant

Liver Transplant Evaluation

Once the medical team and patient have chosen the path of transplantation for treatment, the patient will receive a thorough evaluation from the liver transplant team, which includes transplant hepatologists, transplant surgeons, transplant nurses, financial counselors, social workers, and dietitians.

The overall evaluation takes approximately three days and includes:

  • Diagnostic & Blood Testing - Necessary tests will include blood tests, x-rays, ultrasounds,  CT scans, MRI, and cardiac and pulmonary testing. 
  • Appointments to See Other Specialists - Referrals to other physicians such as cardiologists, gynecologists, and urologists may be necessary. The purpose of these referrals is to determine if it is safe to proceed with liver transplantation.
  • Psychosocial Evaluation - The psychosocial evaluation helps prepare the patient and loved ones for liver transplantation. Financial counselors are also available to help make necessary arrangements prior to transplantation.
  • Patient Education - The Transplant Center's commitment to patient education begins at the first visit. Understanding the transplant process is a crucial part of successful liver transplantation.

Once the evaluation is complete and the results of the tests are received, the multidisciplinary transplant team will confirm that liver transplantation is the correct option for the patient. After being confirmed as a transplant candidate the patient will be placed on the national waiting list for deceased-donor liver transplantation.

MELD Score and the Liver Transplant Waiting List

Livers from deceased donors are a scarce resource. In order to distribute this scarce resource most fairly, liver patients are ranked on the waiting list according to the severity of their illness.

The Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) score is based on three specific laboratory tests: bilirubin, INR, and serum creatinine. The MELD score ranges from 4 to 40 and is used to rank patients on the waiting list.

Patients with higher MELD scores get first priority when a liver becomes available. In some cases, patients with certain diseases such as liver cancer may receive additional MELD points based on their disease.

Patients awaiting liver transplantation on our transplant list are seen by Transplant Center physicians on a regular basis to ensure that they will be ready for transplantation when the liver becomes available.

Become an Organ Donor

The generosity of deceased donors is the foundation of organ transplantation and provides hope for the more than 100,000 people waiting for an organ transplant nationwide. Please visit donatelifetexas.org for more information on organ donation.