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Liver Transplant

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Patient Education

Our transplant team views each patient as part of the UCLA family. We provide ongoing care for each liver transplant patient over a lifetime, with the relationship including family members and caregivers.

We work closely with you before, during and after a transplant, so you know what to expect at each stage and can get access to the support services you need. Read more about our approach to care

UCLA and the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS)

To learn more about liver transplant lists and the liver transplant match process, the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) provides a toll-free patient services line to:

  • Help transplant candidates, recipients and family members understand organ allocation practices and transplantation data
  • Discuss problems you may experience with your transplant center or the transplantation system in general

The toll-free number is (888) 894-6361.

What to Know About Liver Transplant Evaluation

A life-saving adult liver transplant or pediatric liver transplant is a major undertaking with very serious implications. Before we can add patients to a liver transplant waiting list, they undergo an evaluation. Steps include:

  • Assessing psychological and social issues involved in organ transplantation, such as stress, financial issues and family or other support
  • Blood and diagnostic tests to assess overall health status and improve the chances of a good match
  • Immunizations and other preparations to reduce the chance of infection
  • Consideration of medical history and other information that could help determine your eligibility for a liver transplant

The evaluation also provides your MELD (model for end-stage liver disease) score, which determines your placement on the organ waiting list.

Learn more about the evaluation and liver transplantation procedure.

What to do While Waiting for Your Liver Transplant

After your acceptance as a transplant candidate, your name will go on the United Network for Organ Sharing list to await an available donor organ. Please keep in mind that:

During this waiting period, physicians will guide you in maximizing your health so you are in the best condition possible for a transplant.

Donor organs are assigned to liver recipients based on several characteristics, including blood type and the severity of the condition.

It is important to remain available at the contact information you have provided, so we can notify you immediately when a liver is available.

Your physicians will advise you on how to prepare for the transplant.

Our team also offers weekly patient education classes to help you prepare for transplant, recovery and post-transplant life.

What to Expect Post-Transplant

After a liver transplant, most patients remain in the hospital for about two weeks. We support patients in several ways after they receive a liver transplant:

  • Physical therapy: Many patients require physical therapy to regain their liver function and physical strength. We have excellent relationships with the facilities where we send patients after a transplant to continue a successful recovery.
  • Family engagement: If a patient's medical needs indicate a high likelihood of needing extensive physical therapy post-transplant, our team works with family members and caregivers to learn how to manage those medical needs. This program seeks to help patients stay home instead of needing a rehabilitation facility.
  • Local housing: Your UCLA nursing and support team will help you identify local housing for your recovery. Learn more about lodging and nearby services, including the UCLA Tiverton House.

Learn more about the period after the liver transplantation procedure in English [PDF], or in Spanish [PDF]

Ongoing Connection to UCLA's Transplant Program

Patients often continue to receive follow-up care and monitoring from our physicians for years to come. Long after your procedure is completed, you will remain a member of the UCLA transplant family.

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