The journey to living liver donation can be a long and challenging process and potential live liver donors are very carefully evaluated. All living liver donor evaluations are completed at the BIDMC Transplant Institute.
The donor evaluation is a comprehensive assessment to determine if it is safe for a presumably healthy potential living donor to undergo elective major abdominal surgery which offers them no clinical benefit. All donor decisions are made in their best interests, even if declining a donor results in the intended recipient not being able to benefit from LDLT. About 25% of those expressing an interest in living donation undergo donor surgery.
The testing to become a liver donor occurs in phases and begins with a telephone health screening conducted by the live liver donor nurse coordinator. Advancing through the donor evaluation may be dependent on acceptable results during the previous phase.
All charges for the donor evaluation are billed to the recipient's insurance.
Phase 1 Consults and Testing
- Live Liver Donor Coordinator
- Hepatologist (medical doctor who specializes in the care of patients with liver disease)
- Living Donor Social Worker
- Laboratory testing to determine if you have any obvious liver problems, unknown medical conditions, blood clotting disorders or an incompatible blood type
- A Chest X-Ray
- Liver Ultrasound
- Electrocardiogram (ECG)
Phase 2 Consults and Testing
- MRI to determine the amount of liver volume you have in various segments of your liver
- Echocardiogram to evaluate the function of your heart
Phase 3 Consults and Testing
- Hepatic Arteriogram
- Independent Living Donor Advocate - this is a member of the living donor team who is responsible for advocating for your best interests as a potential living liver donor. She/he will review your understanding of living liver donation process, help you understand the benefits and risks of living liver donation, respond to any questions or concerns and ensure that you remain committed to living liver donation.
Additional testing and consults may be needed depending on your health history or interval evaluation results. Examples of additional testing/consults include:
- Liver biopsy
- Pulmonary function testing
- Meeting with transplant psychologist
- Chest CT scan
- Infectious disease consult
All information concerning the donor is kept in strict confidence and will not be given to the potential recipient or any third parties.