If you are found to be a good candidate for liver transplantation, you will be placed on a waiting list managed by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). UNOS is contracted by the federal government to manage the nation's organ transplant system.

Because there are many more people who need a liver transplant than there are deceased donor livers available, UNOS will rank you based on how sick you are, as measured by your Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) score. Certain patients are eligible for additional MELD points (called “exception points”) from UNOS, based on their disease. For example, patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer) or hepatopulmonary syndrome (a lung condition caused by liver disease) may be eligible for additional MELD points.

Because there are so few livers available compared with the number of patients in need of transplantation, many patients are very ill by the time they reach the top of the waiting list. However, there is a spectrum of donor livers, some of which may not be taken by patients at the top of the list, but which might be appropriate for patients further down the list. Living donor liver transplantation is another option to expedite transplantation. For more information, please contact your transplant coordinator to make an appointment to discuss these options.

When a deceased donor organ is available, you will receive a call from your coordinator or surgeon asking you to come into the hospital for the transplant. Since this call can come at any time during the day or night, any day of the week, it is important for the transplant team to be able to reach you. You should provide our center with all of your phone numbers, as well as the phone numbers of a few emergency contacts, so that we can contact you when needed. 

For more information about preparing for transplant, please visit page three of our patient guide to transplantation

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