The option of living liver donation reduces the risk of health deterioration and death for patients who need a liver transplant. Currently in the United States, there are more than 16,900 patients waiting for a liver transplant. Unfortunately, up to 10-20% of patients that are listed for a liver transplant die each year waiting. At the Ochsner Multi-Organ Transplant Institute, we strongly encourage patients and their families to consider the opportunity of living donor liver transplantation. This is an important option to help meet this organ shortage.
If you'd like to be contacted about this program, please fill out the Living Donor Liver Program contact form.
Here are some key facts:
What are the Advantages of Living Donor Transplantation?
- Provides the recipient with a high-quality organ
- Shorter wait time for patients with low MELD scores – transplant is completed before the recipient’s health deteriorates.
- Reduces the risk of death or disqualification while waiting on the donor list.
- Provides a unique opportunity to restore health to a close friend or family member.
Who can be a donor?
- Spouses, relatives, friends, or individuals unrelated to the recipient.
- Healthy individuals between the ages of 18 and 60 years old.
- Donors must have a compatible blood type with the recipient.
The Living Donor Process
Candidates for liver donation must be in excellent physical and emotional health. The donor must have normal or near normal liver function. Our transplant coordinators organize your workup process which entails many tests, including blood tests, x-ray, electrocardiogram, a MRI and a CT scan. The potential donor also completes a number of consultations with other healthcare specialists including a psychiatrist, a hepatologist and an additional medical doctor to determine the medical risks for each individual. The results of this assessment will be reviewed by the donor team and a final decision on liver donation is made.
After the work up process is completed, Ochsner surgeons then review these tests to ensure that the liver is healthy and the anatomy is suitable for transplant surgery. If the screening blood work and scans are satisfactory, the potential donor is offered a tentative target surgery date based on the donor and recipients availability.
- During the surgery between 40-60% of the donor's liver is removed. The liver begins to regenerate almost immediately and after 8 weeks will almost be completely regenerated.