The Evaluation Process
Receiving an organ transplant can be one of the most positive experiences of your life, improving your health and brightening your outlook. But at times it can be physically and emotionally draining.
A transplant offers more independence and a longer and better quality life. With a transplant, there are fewer restrictions on what you can eat and drink, and an overall boost in energy, all of which support a more active lifestyle. You will need frequent medical supervision after your transplant, but this intense care will gradually lessen over time.
Please understand that a transplant is a treatment and not a cure. You must be committed to transplantation as a form of treatment in order for you to embrace and manage the complexities of your care.
The evaluation for liver transplantation begins with an initial consult with the transplant hepatologist, transplant nurse coordinator and physician assistant, and a separate meeting with the transplant social worker. The main goals of the initial consultation are to determine:
- If you have a liver disease for which transplantation is the best treatment
- If your overall condition is such that you can safely undergo transplantation
Please arrive at this initial consultation with a member(s) of your family or social support network, who will be a caregiver and will be involved in your care before, during and after transplantation.
We will take a complete medical history from you, conduct a physical exam, and review all of the outside records, tests and consultations that you have previously had done. It is important to send ahead or bring with you any records pertaining to your liver condition and general health. These records may include reports of blood work, radiology procedures, endoscopies and biopsies. The transplant hepatologist will assess the nature and severity of your liver disease, the state of your general health, and whether liver transplantation is a suitable therapy for you. We may discuss alternative therapies to transplantation on how best to medically manage your liver condition.
Support System Assessment
Our transplant social worker will conduct a full evaluation including an assessment of your personal support system. Liver transplantation is a major undertaking and one key to a successful transplant is the commitment that supportive family and friends can make to your health and well-being.
If you have had a history of dependence on alcohol or illicit drugs, we will expect you to comply with the Transplant Institute's policies and procedures with respect to relapse prevention. We have prepared a special brochure on "Substance Abuse and Liver Disease: What You Need to Know to Get Ready for Liver Transplantation"
outlining our expectations. We will also ask you to sign a Patient Responsibility Agreement
that states our conditions for moving forward with the transplant evaluation. One of our conditions is that we require you to undergo random toxicology screens.