Living Donor Liver Evaluation
Living Donor Liver Transplant Program
Once someone has expressed interest in being a living donor, they will be assigned a Living Donor Liver transplant coordinator. That coordinator will guide them through the following evaluation.
Step 1: Questionnaire and Blood Testing
- The donor will complete an initial questionnaire that includes a series of questions regarding overall health status. Donors should not have uncontrolled high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, liver disease or kidney disease. Click here to download the questionnaire.
- This is an important step in the preliminary evaluation process. Donors are required to produce a formal lab report with their blood type.
- A donor candidate can obtain their blood type ahead of time by consulting their general physician for a record, or if they have donated blood before, they can ask for a record of their blood type from the Red Cross. If a donor has been hospitalized before, they can ask their hospital for a record of their blood type.
- If a donor has no way of obtaining a formal report of their blood type prior to the evaluation, blood will be drawn and tested for compatibility as part of the initial evaluation process.
(This initial testing will take about three weeks to process and determine results. A nurse coordinator will call to inform the donor of their results and will speak with them about their interest in further testing.)
Step 2: Further Testing (at no cost to donor candidates)
Tests and Assessments
- Initial consult will be with a transplant surgeon. The surgeon will explain the surgery, risks and potential complications, do a physical examination and provide ample time for questions and discussion.
- A psychosocial assessment will be completed by our transplant psychiatrist and living donor advocate.
- The donor will complete an ECHO, EKG, chest X-ray, bloodwork, and abdominal CAT Scan and CT Cholangiogram. A blood pressure check, medical history and physical examination will be completed by a transplant surgeon.
- A hepatologist (medical liver specialist) will conduct review the donor candidate's medical history and complete a physical evaluation.
- The donors will have the option of meeting with a financial coordinator to learn about the billing procedures for donation. Typically, the transplant center and the recipient's insurance will cover the cost of the evaluation and surgery.
- Other tests may also be required depending on the donor's gender, age, and genetic make-up. These may include: Pap smear, mammogram, PSA, exercise stress test, pulmonary function test, and possibly a liver biopsy. If the donor is a smoker, they will be instructed to stop smoking.
- Once a candidate expresses interest in being a living donor, they are advised to stop drinking any alcohol.
- Once all of the tests are completed and the donor has been approved for living donation, the surgery date will be established.
Step 3: Pre-Admission Testing
(Pre-admission testing will usually occur within one week of the surgery.)
- The donor will meet with an anesthesiologist to discuss the anesthesia process and answer any questions that they may have.
Recipient Surgeon & Nurse Coordinator
- The donor and recipient will meet the recipient's surgeon and a nurse coordinator to discuss the surgery and will have the opportunity to ask questions.
- The donor will be instructed to stop aspirin products or other blood thinners three days prior to surgery.
- If they are a smoker and have not yet stopped smoking, they will be instructed to do so.
To learn more about living donor liver transplantation, please call 410-328-3444.