The liver transplant program at UK Transplant Center treats patients with end-stage liver disease and liver tumors. Our team of surgeons, nurse practitioners and nurse coordinators, hepatologists, pharmacists and social workers partner in providing personalized transplant care before, during and after surgery.
When treating patients with liver tumors, our transplant team works closely with the oncologists and surgeons at UK Markey Cancer Center to ensure the special needs of these patients are met. Additionally, we offer the most advanced treatment available for patients with hepatitis C (Hep C) who are in need of a liver transplant.
The first liver transplant at UK took place in 1995; since then, our surgeons have performed more than 700 transplants at UK Transplant Center, using state-of-the-art technology and leading-edge medical and surgical interventions to provide the best possible treatment in a caring and compassionate environment.
UK Northern Kentucky Transplant ClinicTri-State Gastroenterology Associates425 Centre View Blvd.
Crestview Hills KY 41017
Services available: Liver, Kidney
UK Transplant & Specialty ClinicSuite 150Medical Plaza East3 Audubon Plaza Drive
Louisville KY 40217
Services available: Heart, Lung, Liver, Kidney, Pancreas, Living Donor
UK Transplant Center
UK Kentucky ClinicThird Floor, Wing D, Room J301740 S. Limestone
Lexington KY 40536Fax 859-323-1700
firstname.lastname@example.org - Note that this email is not secure and should not be used to send personal health information.
Services available: Lung, Liver, Kidney, Pancreas, Living Donor
A liver transplant is a surgical procedure in which a patient with irreversible liver damage receives a liver from a non-identical donor (allograft). Diseases such as Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC), hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer), and cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) may cause irreversible liver damage and subsequent end stage liver disease (ESLD). One of the most common reasons a liver transplant is performed is for liver cirrhosis caused by hepatitis C or alcohol abuse.
A patient being considered for liver transplantation must undergo an extensive assessment that includes diagnostic testing such as blood work, and imaging of the liver, as well as psychological and social counseling. It is inherent that the patient is tobacco and drug free, and will be required to prove cessation by passing drug screens as well as attending any required rehabilitation program or counseling. Only after the required criteria is met may the patient being placed on the UNOS (United Network of Organ Sharing) waiting list, although this unfortunately does not mean they will be transplanted immediately and must await a donor liver.
Prior to transplant, a patient will begin antirejection medications such as Tacrolimus or cyclosporine, mycophenolate, or a compilation of medications to ready the body for accepting its new liver. Compliance must be emphasized as the transplanted liver may be rejected without adherence to the prescribed medication regimen. These medications are especially important during the first year post transplant and will likely be lifelong medications even though the likelihood of rejection decreases after this time period.
When a donor liver is secured, the transplant patient will arrive to the transplant center and prepped for surgery with an IV placed, as well as an arterial line to monitor the patient’s internal pressures in conjunction with sedation. A large chevron (V-shaped) incision extending from the right ribcage to the lower abdomen will be made as the surgeon separates healthy tissue and blood vessels while readying the patient for the new liver. The liver will be transplanted and each blood vessel connected before the incision is closed. The procedure can take between four and 12 hours.
Risks and complications
The patient will be in ICU for several days for monitoring, with an expected stay of 7-14 days. Potential risks following the procedure may include blockage of blood vessels within the transplanted organ, bleeding, clots, rejection or infection. Lengthy recovery of transplant patients may lead to activity intolerance with the majority recovering fully within 2-3 months.
Liver transplant education
What to Expect (PDF, 106 KB)
This informative brochure explains what you can expect at your first clinic visit.
Post-Op Liver Transplant Patient Guide (PDF, 346 KB) Guía Post Trasplante de Hígado (Spanish-PDF, 675 KB)
For additional information about transplant, visit the Web sites listed below. These sites are reputable organizations that offer reliable information.
If you are a new patient or would like to learn more about UK HealthCare Transplant Center services, please call us toll-free at 866-285-4337
If you are a patient and need to reach a member of your transplant team, please contact us at:
Teresa Schladt was diagnosed at age 35 with alpha-1-antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency, a genetic disorder that can damage the liver and lungs. Her younger brother, David Bishop of Nicholasville, also has the disease and six years ago had a double-lung transplant at UK Chandler Hospital.