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Liver Transplants

Why choose Ochsner Health for liver transplants?

Each year, more than 125 patients undergo a liver transplant at Ochsner Transplant Institute, a program that was home to Louisiana’s first liver transplant in 1984. In the four decades since, Ochsner surgeons have performed more than 3,000 liver transplants for adults and children, making Ochsner’s liver transplant program one of the busiest in the nation. Today, patients come from 37 states and world-wide to access care at Ochsner Transplant Institute — the most active and experienced transplant center in the Gulf South region.

Most patients who undergo liver transplants will receive the organ from a deceased donor. However, Ochsner also offers living donor transplants — an innovative surgery that allows patients with malfunctioning livers to receive part of a healthy liver from a living donor.

Regardless of the type of liver transplant you receive, you can feel confident in choosing Ochsner for your liver transplant. Here, our internationally renowned team provides the full scope of liver care, from diagnosis to transplant and beyond. Ochsner surgeons also take on some of the most difficult cases, including retransplantation, transplant of obese recipients and patients who have a blood clot that narrows or blocks the portal vein (the gastrointestinal tract’s main drainage vein). They also perform split liver transplants and reduced-size liver transplants.

Ochsner’s liver transplant program boasts one of the country’s shortest wait times for a deceased donor transplant, and a shorter wait time has the largest impact on patient survival. The Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients offers a calculator to help patients and their families learn more about their expected wait times for a liver transplant at specific facilities. To use this calculator, select a state (LA) and a liver transplant center (Ochsner is listed as Ochsner Foundation Hospital on the calculator), and then select your MELD score range. You can also add optional information about your blood type, your age range, MELD exception points and amount of follow-up care to get more specific results.

When damage, disease or failure results in a low-functioning liver, liver transplant may be necessary. The procedure removes an unhealthy liver and replaces it with a healthy liver, either from a living donor or a deceased person. A few reasons for liver transplant include:

  • Alcoholic liver disease

  • Autoimmune diseases

  • Biliary atresia — a blockage that prevents bile from getting from the liver to the gallbladder

  • Blockage of the blood vessels to the liver

  • Chronic liver failure

  • Exposure to toxins

  • Familial hypercholesterolemia — a genetic condition that makes it impossible for the liver to process cholesterol

  • Fatty liver disease (nonalcoholic steatohepatitis)

  • Genetic disorders

  • Liver cancer

  • Liver sclerosis or liver cirrhosis caused by chronic hepatitis C — scarring of the liver

  • Liver tumors

  • Urea cycle disorders — a genetic condition that allows toxic ammonia to accumulate in the blood

  • Viral hepatitis — which results in acute liver failure

  • Severe reactions to illegal drugs, herbal supplements or over-the-counter or prescription medications

Ochsner surgeons perform all types of liver transplants, including living donor liver transplants. With this procedure, part of a liver gets taken from a healthy individual. This portion gets transplanted into the person in need of a new liver. Over time, the separate parts of the liver regenerate and grow to the appropriate size in the donor and recipient.

Compared to livers taken from a deceased donor, living donor livers offer great benefits. These include:

  • Better results. Liver transplants involving a living donor result in increased survival rates. Additionally, getting your organ from a living donor reduces your need for post-transplant dialysis or blood transfusion.

  • Quick recovery. All organ donation is a major surgery. However, receiving an organ from a living donor typically results in a shorter hospital stay and faster recovery.

  • Shorter wait. As with all organ donation, donated organs first go to the most critical patients. A living donor can designate that you get their liver. When this happens, you don’t spend time on the waiting list. You begin the process to prepare for transplantation.

To provide these perks, the Ochsner team encourages patients to talk to loved ones about living donor liver transplantation. Our experts then guide potential donors through blood tests to determine blood type and other steps toward making a liver donation.

You never take a liver transplant journey alone. At Ochsner, a multidisciplinary team of experts is in place to work together on every aspect of your care to ensure the best outcome.

These experts educate you on your procedure. They also prepare you for transplantation and help you manage high blood pressure and other potential side effects of liver transplantation.

Members of your liver transplant team include the following:

  • Dietitians

  • Financial counselors (who help with financial considerations)

  • Hepatologists

  • Liver transplant surgeons

  • Nurse coordinators

  • Pharmacists

  • Social workers

For further encouragement and education, Ochsner provides support groups. These groups connect you to others who have received or are awaiting transplantation. Through these meetings, you hear real-life success stories from those who have been there. You also get support from others in various stages of their journey.

If you live far from the Ochsner Transplant Institute, your transplant journey may start from home. Thanks to advances in technology, you can get screened for liver transplant without driving to see us. All you need is internet access and a computer or smartphone.

Virtual visits allow liver transplant experts to evaluate you online. Prior to your first meeting, your team reviews your medical records. They then meet with you online to ensure your experience of liver problems matches your health records. Depending on the specifics of your case, you may get put on the transplant waiting list immediately. If needed, your team orders additional tests to determine where your journey will lead.

Virtual visits also help after transplant. In many cases, you can receive follow-up care online to ensure your new liver functions well and to give you an opportunity to ask questions, without driving long distances or spending time in the waiting room.

Ochsner liver transplant surgeons actively work to improve liver transplantation. Because we perform so many successful liver transplants, surgeons from across the country come to learn how to improve their processes and outcomes.

Additionally, we actively engage in various clinical trials with promise to improve the future of liver transplants. At any given time, we engage in trials to study one or more of the following:

  • Anti-rejection medications

  • Best pre-transplant care for harvested organs

  • Methods for improved quality of life, post-transplant

  • Optimal techniques to prepare patients for transplantation

  • Whether transplant or other treatment provides best results for specific groups of patients

The Ochsner Transplant Institute provides consistent follow-up information to all referring physicians via written correspondence. You’ll be kept abreast of initial clinic visits, surgery, hospital discharge and routine follow-up visits to the clinic. After surgery, our team continues to monitor for transplant-related complications and regulates maintenance immunosuppression.

    1. To refer a patient to one of the best liver transplant hospitals in the country, please call 504-842-3925, fax referrals to 504-703-2310 or email referrals to refliver@Ochsner.org.

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Map of Ochsner-affiliated facilities that provide services related to Liver Transplants

Liver Transplants Locations

Ochsner Medical Center – New Orleans
1514 Jefferson Highway
New Orleans, LA 70121
  • Open 24/7