How does a liver transplant list work?

by anonymous

in Transplants

My mom has Stage 4 Hepatitis C (cirrhosis) and shes been a previous alcoholic but has been sober for going on 17 years now. Is it for sure she’ll get a transplant? Is it mostly a matter of time? What can I expect in the future…
She just quit smoking. She did for about 40+ years (since she was 15). She quit about 2 months ago.

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I’m really sorry about that. I study medicine at VCU right now, and as far as I know:
1. If you have money, you’ll “somehow” get a liver faster than others.
2. If you smoke/drink (even previously) it may slow your name on the list.
3. Depending on how advanced the cancer is, in your case, extremely, she may be moved up.

Bud dude, all you can do is hope, and if they see that she was a previous alcoholic, they will put someone who has treated their body better before your mom, I’m sorry man that’s just how it is…


Depending on your mother’s medical condition and state of health, it would determine WHERE on the transplant list she will be put in. The most serious/severe cases are put on top of the list.

Many people die without the transplants they need (as it is based on priority sequence and on the availability of organs).


Your mother’s doctor would refer her to a Transplant Center.
There she would go though an evaluation process of being
placed on the transplant list. This means seeing different
doctors (including a psychiatrist) and having much testing done.

Here are a few links that explain this, that you can click on:
USC Patients Guide to Liver Transplant Surgery:
Transplant Living and Living donations:

Patients are placed on the Transplant list according to how much
time the doctors feel she has left to live if she doesn’t have a transplant.
They do this by having the patient have blood testing done. By certain
blood tests results: Bilirubin, INR, Creatinine results; she will be given
a MELD score. MELD score runs from 6 to 40. Those who are
closer to the 6 are the healthiest on the list and may even go off the
list. As you go up the ladder closer to 40, they become sicker…
have more signs and symptoms of the liver disease, and is more
in need of a transplant. If they reach the top of the list..They have
the least amount of time left to live and need a transplant right away.

Most Transplant Centers required that a patient be detoxed from
alcohol (under doctors care) for a period of six months prior to being
refered to them for the evaluation process.

They do transplant patients who have Hepatitis C. They may have
her do treatment before the transplant to try to rid her body of the
virus, or this can be done after the transplant is over.
Hepatitis C is a virus that is using the liver cells to replicate itself.
When it uses a cell, that cell dies and it moves onto the next.

Cirrhosis of the liver is death of the liver cells and scar tissue
formation inside the liver. The liver cells are what does all
the functions, that the liver does as a whole, to keep the body
well. As the liver cells die off, those functions deteriorate.
(this is what is known as Liver failure). The scar tissue
inside the liver starts to block the flow of blood to the
functioning liver cells and they continue to die off.
Eventually, this scar tissue will consume the liver and stop
the blood from flowing back to the heart. The liver starts to
shrink in size and takes on a hard texture. The liver is dying
inside the living patient. This blood can back up into the
portal veins and smaller (collateral) vessels that can have weak
spots and balloon outward, break open, and bleed. The liver
isn’t able to make clotting factors, so the patient bruises and
bleeds very easily. Any blood in the sputum, vomit, or rectal
area is a dire Emergency. The doctor can go in and band these
vessels if they are brought to the ER right away.

Ascite is the build up of fluid in the abdominal area. It makes it
difficult for the patient to eat or breathe. This can be releaved
by paracentesis procedure. Albumin, the protein that holds fluid
inside our vessels isn’t made efficiently by the liver now. The fluid
leaks out and collect in the abdomen.

Encephalopathy: Ammonia going into the brain that the liver cannot
convert to urea, that the kidneys would pick up and remove from the
body. Ammonia goes into the brain and cause confusion, disorientation,
sleep pattern changes, hand tremors, and more. Doctor can give
meds to bind the ammonia to remove it: known as Lactulose or Xifixan.

Here are some good links on Cirrhosis..The first one is the best to
read all pages (it is easy to understand):
Medicine Net:

I hope this has been of help to you. Best wishes

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