How do I get on the Liver Transplant List?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 06 October 2019
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The steps you have to take to get on a liver transplant list may vary depending on the country in which you are being treated. In most cases, however, the first step in getting on the liver transplant is a doctor’s evaluation. A doctor will usually consider a range of factors in determining whether you would make a good candidate for a liver transplant and may then refer you to a transplant center. Usually, you will make an appointment at the transplant center to which you were referred for an evaluation by a liver transplant surgeon in addition to psychological evaluation and financial counseling. If the transplant center determines that you are a good candidate for a transplant, it will add your name to a national list of those waiting for liver transplants.


You will likely have to submit to a complex process in order to have your name added to the liver transplant list. This process may vary depending on where you live, but it usually starts with an evaluation by a doctor. If a doctor determines that you are in need of a liver transplant, he will likely refer you to a transplant center for an evaluation. At this center, a liver transplant surgeon will likely perform an initial evaluation to determine whether you should undergo further testing as a potential liver transplant candidate. The testing usually includes blood tests and other lab tests to reveal facts about the health of your liver as well as your health status in general.

If the liver transplant surgeon determines that you are a candidate for liver transplant surgery, you will likely have to undergo additional testing to determine how well you are likely to tolerate the surgery. In such a case, the transplant center will usually test your lungs, heart, and kidney health before you are placed on the transplant list. These tests are intended to determine whether your organs can withstand the stress of not just the surgery, but also the anesthesia used for the transplant.

In addition to medical testing, you will usually have to undergo a psychological evaluation before your name is added to the liver transplant list. You will be evaluated for the presence of untreated psychological disorders as well as your ability to care for yourself, follow instructions, and understand your treatment. Additionally, the psychological evaluation may include assessments of your ability to deal with the stress of waiting for the liver transplant. This evaluation will likely take place even if you do not have a psychological disorder.

The presence of addictions may also influence your ability to get on a liver transplant list. You will have to be drug free for a significant amount of time to be eligible. If you have an addiction, you may receive referrals to groups that will help you deal with your condition and undergo regular testing designed to reveal if you are abusing drugs or alcohol.

You will likely receive financial counseling as part of the process of getting on the liver transplant list as well. This counseling is intended to help you understand the costs of the liver transplant as well as costs you may face after surgery. If you do not have insurance and cannot afford a transplant, financial counselors may help you determine your eligibility for assistance programs.

After the assessments, testing and counseling are complete, the transplant center will inform you of whether or not you are on the waiting list. Your position on the list depends on your condition. Those with the most dire need for a liver transplant are usually placed at the top of the liver transplant list.


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