If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with liver disease and needs—or will need—a liver transplant, don't wait. There are more than 11,500 Americans on the waiting list for a liver transplant, and the wait for a deceased donor transplant could take years. Unfortunately, about 20% of people on the liver transplant waiting list die while waiting.

During a living-donor liver transplant, a healthy adult donates a portion of their liver to someone with end-stage liver disease or liver cancer. Following the transplant, the donor's liver will regenerate, or grow back, in a few months. Living-donor liver transplants can reduce the amount of time spent on the transplant waiting list and allow patients to receive a transplant sooner.

Other benefits include:

  • Little or no wait time. Once a patient has identified a suitable living donor, the surgery can be scheduled at a time that is convenient for both people.
  • Quicker recovery time. Both the recipient and donor often return to their normal, active lives within weeks to months following living-donor transplant.
  • Improved long-term outcomes. Because the donor's liver is functioning up until the time of transplant, the recipient can benefit from improved long-term outcomes and a quicker recovery.

doctor speaking with patient

Who is a Candidate?

At the UPMC Liver Transplant Program, we consider each person referred to our program. Whether they suffer from traditional or complex liver conditions or various types of liver cancer, we are committed to providing liver transplant services to anyone who will benefit, including those who are high-risk and have been turned down for a transplant at another center.

A candidate for liver transplant may suffer from any of these liver conditions:

  • Hepatitis C
  • Hepatitis B
  • Alcoholic liver disease
  • Non-alcoholic steato-hepatitis or fatty liver disease
  • Primary liver cancers
  • Primary biliary cirrhosis
  • Autoimmune hepatitis
  • Primary sclerosing cholangitis
  • Acute liver disease from toxins including Acetaminophen/Tylenol
  • Alpha 1 Antityrpsin deficiency
  • A failed prior liver transplant
  • Polycystic disease
  • Hemochromatosis
  • Veno-occlusive disease
  • Wilson’s disease

Living-donor liver transplant also is an option for patients with advanced liver cancer. Living donation provides a life-sustaining treatment option for patients diagnosed with various types of cancer who have exhausted all other treatment options and may not qualify for a deceased donor transplant. Experts at UPMC perform living-donor liver transplant for:

  • Unresectable metastatic colorectal cancer
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma or mixed cholangio/hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Hilar cholangiocarcinoma
  • Unresectable neuroendocrine tumor

Living-Donor Liver Transplant for Patients with Low MELD Scores

The Model for End Stage Liver Disease (MELD) score ranges from six to 40 and is based on results from several lab tests. The higher the patient's MELD score, the more likely they are to receive a liver transplant once an organ becomes available. It estimates a patient's chances of surviving their disease over the next three months.

For many patients, the MELD score may not accurately represent how sick they really are. Ongoing symptoms of liver disease such as loss of weight and muscle mass, ascites, and a buildup of fluid in the limbs can reduce a patient’s quality of life and, in some cases, may be life-threatening.

For patients with low MELD scores, living-donor liver transplant is an option. By identifying a living donor, patients can reduce their time on the transplant waiting list and receive a transplant sooner.

If you would like to be evaluated for a liver transplant or are interested in registering as a potential living donor, call 844-257-9852 , or complete the form below.

Register below to become a donor or to be evaluated for a liver transplant.

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Learn more about living-donor transplants at UPMC.

From WebMD

More on Living-Donor Liver Transplants