University Hospitals Liver Transplant Program Provides Thorough Patient Evaluations

Our highly trained staff helps patients feel at ease, from the first consultation, to the actual transplant, to the outpatient follow-up visits at University Hospitals.

For those preparing to undergo a liver transplant, the process can seem daunting. Not only does the fear and anxiety of impending surgery bring stressful feelings, but also the worries of a successful transplant can take an emotional toll. The staff at the Liver Transplant Program understands this, and works hard to make the process as smooth as possible for each patient.

When a patient is referred to University Hospitals Transplant Institute, an intake coordinator conducts a phone interview with the patient to obtain demographic, insurance, and medical information. Once this interview is complete, the patient is scheduled to see a transplant hepatologist, surgeon, and social worker. During this visit, a review of the patient’s past medical/surgical history, medication history, and lifestyle habits will be reviewed. The transplant team then determines whether the patient can move forward with his/her evaluation.

If the patient moves forward with their evaluation, the patient will be scheduled for a mandatory education class. The following information will be explained to the individuals:

  • Patient selection criteria
  • Necessary medical tests
  • The liver transplant waiting list
  • Information about the procedure itself
  • What to expect during recovery
  • The importance of anti-rejection drugs to prevent complications
  • Post-transplant follow up care at UH

Patient Evaluation at UH

At the Liver Transplant Program, an extensive evaluation is performed before the patient is added to the transplant waiting list. Common tests we use include:

  • Blood tests
  • Diagnostic tests
    • Mammograms and PAP Smears for females
    • Computed tomography (CAT) scan
    • Ultrasound
  • PPD (TB skin test)
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG)
  • Chest x-ray
  • Colonoscopy for patients over age 50
  • Dental exam

Multifaceted Team Evaluates Patients

During the evaluation process, experts involved in the Liver Transplantation Program will spend time interviewing the patient. Those experts include:

  • American Society of Transplant Surgeons-trained transplant surgeons
  • Transplant hepatologists (liver specialists)
  • Anesthesiologists
  • Dietitians
  • Gastroenterologists
  • Infectious disease specialist
  • Liver transplant surgeons
  • Nurse coordinator
  • Pastoral care
  • Pathologists
  • Physical therapists
  • Psychiatrist
  • Radiologists
  • Social workers

Communication with Referring Physicians

The referring physician’s perceptions about the patient are important in assessing the patient’s ability to successfully recover from a liver transplant. The transplant team maintains close communication with the patient’s primary physician before, during and after the liver transplant. The transplant physician and referring physician may also collaborate to provide follow-up care throughout the patient’s life.

Convenient Access to Liver Transplant Program Services

UH opened the Satellite Education and Evaluation Center in Akron, Ohio to bring expanded UH Transplant Institute services to northeast Ohio and make the patient evaluation services more accessible.

We believe that this local access to the UH Liver Transplant Program for patients living in Summit County is crucial in helping more patients make an informed decision about transplantation. In addition, the satellite location provides evaluation services, including identifying those patients that may be excellent candidates for a liver transplant.

The transplant procedure and follow-up care are then performed in Cleveland, Ohio, at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center.

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