A liver transplant evaluation is the first step of the transplant assessment process. Your evaluation will be organized in the Liver Transplant Clinic.

During your liver transplant evaluation, you will have several tests done and you will talk to a member of the transplant team to find out if a transplant is safe and right for you. You will need to visit the Toront​o General Hospital​ 3-5 times to complete your evaluation.

Based on your age and your medical history, you may have some or all of these tests:

  • Blood tests and virus testing
  • Heart tests such as an electrocardiogram (ECG), an echocardiogram, a stress test, or an angiogram
  • Chest x-rays, abdominal ultrasound and other imaging
  • Gastroscopy and Colonoscopy
  • Pulmonary Function test (lungs)
  • Screening for diabetes
  • Screening for cancer
  • TB skin test
  • Urine Tests

You will meet with transplant hepatologist (liver specialist), transplant surgeon, anesthetist, and ​social worker​.

You might be asked to see other specialists, such as a cardiologist, (heart specialist), respirologist, psychiatrist or oncologist depending on your medical condition.

Transplant Approval Process

After your evaluation is done, your transplant team will review all your test results and will talk to you about whether a transplant is right for you.

You may be approved for a liver transplant if:

  1. All required tests and consultations have been done.
  2. All recommendations have been followed, such as having the treatments you need before your transplant.
  3. You have met and talked with all members of the transplant team who are involved in your evaluation.
  4. You want to have a transplant, and you understand and accept the responsibilities required before and after the transplant.

The entire team may then approve you for a transplant, based on your test results and current medical condition. The team will also consider two more important factors:

  1. Timing - Your liver may not be failing completely. If this is the case, you may not be ready to have a transplant.
  2. Safety - Although most patients get approved, it may be medically unsafe for you to have a liver transplant. If you have active or advanced heart disease, an infection, cancer, or any other condition that may make it unsafe for you to have transplant surgery, the team may decide with you that you should not have a transplant.

Liver Transplant Options

Living donor
​To increase your chance of getting a liver transplant, you should talk to people who may be interested in, and willing to, donate a liver to you. This is called a living donor liver transplant.

Your liver donor could be your spouse, a family member, a co-worker or even a stranger. Don't count anyone out as a possible donor.

The UHN Liver Transplant team will work with you to find out if your possible live donor is a good match for you.

If you have found a suitable living donor, you usually will be able to have your surgery in approximately 1-3 months, if all your tests are acceptable and your donor is a good match. All of this information varies, depending on your individual circumstances.

Deceased donor
​If you cannot find a living donor, you will be placed on the deceased donor liver transplant waiting list. This means that you will wait for a liver donated from someone who has passed away. The starting time for your wait will be the first date you were placed on the waiting list. Right now, the time you may need to wait for a liver from a deceased donor is anywhere between 2 to 5 years.

It is very important to have a family doctor by the time of your transplant.

Before your transplant surgery, you should quit smoking, stop drinking alcohol and lose weight, if needed. This will help you prepare for surgery and may reduce your recovery time after surgery. The transplant team is here to help and support you at this time and you can also talk to your family doctor.​

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