Liver Transplant: Evaluation and Selection

The transplant work-up process at UT Southwestern Medical Center begins when a physician refers a patient to our service. If your doctor has referred you to us, our nurse coordinator will set up appointments for you with many specialists on the transplant team to evaluate whether transplantation is an appropriate treatment. These specialists include a social worker, psychologist/psychiatrist, hepatologist, surgeon, dietitian, and financial coordinator.

Most evaluations are conducted on an outpatient basis over two or three days. They include blood and urine tests, a chest X-ray, an echocardiogram and electrocardiogram (EKG), ultrasound, and a CT scan or MRI. A liver biopsy, pulmonary function test, and/or arterial blood gases (ABG) are sometimes also needed to complete an evaluation. 

The work-up is designed to:

  • Determine whether a transplant is needed
  • Detect problems that might complicate the transplant
  • Determine whether you have other conditions that make transplantation impossible

Selection Process

After the work-up has been completed and you have met with the key members of the transplant team, the case will be presented to the UT Southwestern Medical Center Transplant Selection Committee. Based on the test results and evaluations, the committee will decide if you are an appropriate candidate for transplantation.

The committee may make any of the following recommendations:

  • You do not need a transplant.
  • You are not a transplant candidate because of other health problems.
  • The committee needs more information.
  • The committee would like to follow you for a period of time (generally six to 12 months) before placing you on the waiting list.
  • You are an acceptable candidate and can be placed on the transplant waiting list immediately.

You will not be placed on the waiting list until we notify you that you’ve been accepted. You will receive a written letter confirming your status on the waiting list.