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Being Evaluated for a Liver Transplant

The transplant team must evaluate your medical condition by using the results from a number of tests.  The condition of your heart and lungs is especially important to determining the risk of surgery.

This table displays examples of some of the tests you will need to take to determine your medical condition before transplant. You will be required to meet with our financial coordinator, psychologist, and social worker prior to your transplant. In addition, it is important that you have no active infections or cancer outside the liver.

Important Tests for the Transplant Workup

  • Chest X-Ray: Examines heart and lungs
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG): Studies the rhythm of the heart
  • Dobutamine Stress Echo: Examines the function of the heart under stress transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE) and can predict whether the patient is at risk for a heart attack
  • Standard Cardiology: Workup is a TTE
  • Transthoracic Echocardiogram (TTE): Accurately assess the overall health of the heart
  • Ultrasound of the Abdomen: Checks the blood vessels of the liver
  • ABO Typing: Identifies the blood type and needs to be done twice
  • Dental Evaluation: It is important that dental health is kept up to date — at least one visit per year. Dental infections can create a serious health risk after transplantation.
  • Gynecologic Evaluation (including PAP smear and mammogram): It is important that these studies are kept up to date, so that problems can be immediately discovered and treated to stay healthy and not affect the ability to obtain a transplant.
  • CAT Scan of the Abdomen: To determine if your liver contains any tumors or defects
  • Ultrasound of the Abdomen: To check blood flow of major vessels to your liver
  • Pulmonary Function Test: This test shows how well your lungs work, as a decrease in lung capacity is a risk factor for surgery

Further testing may be required, depending on the type of liver disease you may have.

Anti-rejection medications are given after transplantation to decrease the body's ability to fight diseases, such as infections and cancers. It is important that every effort is made to eliminate any sources of infection prior to transplantation. In the case of certain liver cancers, a careful evaluation of the amount of tumor present is required prior to determining if transplantation is possible. If one is currently undergoing treatment for other types of cancers, the treatment must be completed with evidence of remission prior to transplantation.