Frequently Asked Questions

Liver Transplant Program

How do I get started with Jefferson's Liver Transplant Program?

The first step is to be evaluated by one of the Jefferson hepatologists (liver specialists). A hepatologist will review your medical history and previous diagnostic tests and procedures and then examine and interview you. From there, the hepatologist will determine if there are any alternative treatments for you and, if not, if the timing is right to refer you for a transplant evaluation. You can schedule this initial consultation by calling 215-955-8900.

Will I receive a liver from a living donor or a deceased donor?

It depends. If you have a friend or loved one who is able and willing to serve as a living liver donor, you may be able to receive an organ from him or her. If not, you will be added to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) list and will receive a compatible organ from a deceased donor when one is available.

If I go on the list, how long will it take to get a liver?

Again, it depends. No one can control when or how organs become available. What you can do is ensure that you keep us up to date on all of your contact information, insurance/financial information and lab tests. That way, if an organ does become available, we can reach you quickly and move forward with the transplant surgery.

A friend/loved one wants to donate part of his or her liver to me. What do we do to start the process?

Our Transplant Program has a formal process for screening potential living donors. The first step is a series of medical tests to determine whether or not you and the potential donor are compatible. If so, your friend or loved one will benefit from Jefferson's use of laparoscopic donor surgery – which typically results in smaller scars, less pain and a faster recovery.

How do I know if my insurance will cover a liver transplant?

Jefferson's Transplant Program maintains a team of resources – including a dedicated financial coordinator who works with every patient to sort through the money matters. We will work with you to determine coverage prior to initiating treatment.

Do you perform liver transplants for patients who have HIV?

Yes. Thomas Jefferson University Hospital is committed to providing transplant therapies to appropriate candidates. We have developed protocols for HIV patients who need a liver and/or kidney transplant.

Do you provide support groups for transplant patients?

We have a comprehensive team that includes transplant coordinators and social workers. Your transplant coordinator serves as your single point of contact for questions and concerns. Our social workers are available to help support psychosocial and employment concerns. In addition, we often connect patients with past transplant patients who can serve as mentors, and we run a regular support group for patients who have completed their transplants.