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Cadaver Liver Transplant

Deceased donors, or cadavers, are a common source of organ transplantations - like liver transplant. Deceased donors have consented in advance to become an organ donor. After a donor has been declared legally dead (brain dead), their liver is removed and preserved for transplantation, which must take place within 24 hours. While around 17,000 Americans are currently on the waiting list for a liver transplant; only around 6,500 livers become available for transplantation each year. Moreover, as a result of the improved safety standards of transportation and violent crimes, the number of organs from previously healthy donors are decreasing, and the average age of deceased donors are increasing.

Over the last 20 years, the number of liver transplants performed at UI Health has been increasing, both from deceased and living donation. Our Liver Transplant Program works to overcome all barriers to transplant by advocating for living donation and providing transplant options for high-risk patients and those with blood-type incompatibilities. Despite treating the most challenging and difficult cases, our outcomes are comparable to and often exceed other transplant centers in Illinois and across the United States, and our longest functioning liver transplant recipient from deceased donor is 40 years.

Key Facts

  • It is not necessary to match the donor and recipient for age, sex, or race.
  • All donors are screened for viruses, such as hepatitis and HIV.
  • All deceased donor organs are tested extensively to ensure that the procedure is safe for the recipient.
  • Many studies are performed to ensure that the organs are functioning properly, such as ABO blood type and HLA matching.