The Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix Transplant Center team is dedicated to providing the best care available to patients suffering from liver disease and those requiring a liver transplant.
We understand liver transplants are life-changing events for both recipient and donor. This is an emotional time that requires patience, hard work, understanding and commitment. Our team pledges to help you in every way possible before, during and after your surgery.
Our dedicated and experienced team of health care professionals includes:
The liver-transplant process:
A variety of diseases can lead to end-stage liver disease. A liver transplant may be recommended for patients who have:
Liver transplantation is not recommended for people with other life-threatening diseases or conditions such as malignancy outside of the liver; advanced cardiopulmonary disease; HIV/AIDS; current drug or alcohol abuse; infection outside of the liver.
Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix's Liver Transplant Candidate Selection Committee reviews all potential candidates to determine suitability based on the transplant selection criteria. This criteria has been developed to ensure positive outcomes for transplant recipients.
If accepted for transplantation, the patient is listed with the United Network for Organ Sharing, the national computerized waiting list that matches transplanted recipients with available organs. Patients are prioritized on the waiting list based on a MELD (Model for End-stage Liver Disease) score.
The MELD score is used to have the sickest patient transplanted first. It is a predictor of patient’s likelihood of death with liver disease. It is a numerical score from 6 (healthier) to 40 (sicker). It is derived form three lab values: bilirubin, creatinine and INR. A patient’s MELD can vary from month to month based on lab work. Patients with the highest MELD score are considered first for an available liver.
During the waiting period, the patient will be monitored by the Liver Disease Center team, in collaboration with the patient’s own primary care physician and/or gastroenterologist. Patients and families should take advantage of the many resources available to them during this time, including transplant education and support groups.
Livers available for transplants come from two types of donors:
Deceased donor: Individuals who have had an accident or medical event where they have no chance of recovery.
Living donor: A live person who donates half of his/her liver. Following the transplant, both the donor and the recipient end up with a full-sized liver, because of the ability of the liver to grow back to its original size. To qualify for living donor transplant, recipients' MELD scores usually need to be above 11 and below 20. Living donors need to be closely related to the recipient or very close friends. They need to be very healthy, similar in size to the recipient and have a compatible blood type.
The transplant surgery
When a donor (deceased or living) has been identified, the liver transplant patient is admitted to Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix for the surgery.
Patients typically stay in the hospital an average of seven to 10 days following liver transplantation. During recuperation, the recipient learns about immuno-suppressive medications needed to prevent rejection; nutrition; coping strategies; and daily care following discharge.
After discharge, transplant recipients will continue to be monitored at the clinic for ongoing care and education and immunosuppressive therapy management. The transplant surgeon and hepatologist will manage the patient’s immunosuppressive therapy.
If you have any more questions regarding liver transplants at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix Transplant Center, please contact us at (602) 839-7000 or toll-free at 1-(800) 554-1923; by fax at (602) 839-7050; or by e-mail.