The Liver Transplant Center brings together uniquely experienced physicians from multiple disciplines to provide comprehensive hepatology services to patients with diseases of the liver, biliary tree, and gallbladder.

Our liver transplant program began in 1987 and is now one of the busiest centers in the country with more than 2,000 liver transplants performed overall. Our high patient volumes mean we see more cases of uncommon and challenging hepatic diseases than most other hospitals – a fact that has contributed to our renowned expertise and above-average liver transplantation survival rates. We also focus on treating the patient as a whole, not just the disease, and do whatever we can to help patients enjoy a positive quality of life.

Take the Next Step

You’ll never be alone in your treatment journey as a patient at TGH. Living with hepatic disease can bring about unique challenges and uncertainties, but our team is here to help you face them with confidence. If you have any questions about our hepatology services, we’d be happy to answer them.

Liver Transplant Process

Referral
A referral to can come from a physician, hospital or patient. Once we receive your referral, a transplant coordinator will contact you directly to discuss your information and review your records. Additional records may be requested if they’re not included in the referral.
Evaluation

Once we have reviewed your records, we’ll be in touch to coordinate and schedule a date for a consultation. Evaluation can take several weeks to several months, depending on your individual health issues. The plan for your evaluation will be determined by your physician, surgeon, and transplant coordinator and will be explained to you. Transplant evaluations include consultation with our transplant care team members, providers and staff. Other common testing that may occur throughout your evaluation process can include:

  • CT scans
  • Ultrasounds
  • Breathing tests
  • Laboratory testing
  • Arterial blood gas
  • Electrocardiograms (ECGs)
  • Stress tests
  • Echocardiograms
  • Chest X-rays
  • Esophagogastroduodenoscopies (EGDs), colonoscopies
  • Cancer screenings

Outpatient consultations are scheduled at the TGH Transplant & Specialty Services office, conveniently located on Bayshore Boulevard in South Tampa.

Medical Review Board
Once your evaluation and tests are complete, your information will be reviewed by our medical review board. This step is to determine whether you are a waiting list candidate or if a medical management treatment track would be more appropriate for you. Your transplant coordinator will keep you informed. If your evaluation suggests a transplant is not your best option, or you choose not to have a transplant, the transplant team will contact you to discuss alternative treatments that will best suit you and your condition.
Waitlist

If you are approved as a transplant candidate, you will be placed on the transplant waitlist. The waitlist system is maintained by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). Because there are more people who need a transplant than available donors, UNOS will score you based on how sick you are. This is called the Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) system.

MELD score estimates a patient’s chances of surviving their disease during the next three months. Organ allocation is determined by the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN). Livers from deceased donors are allocated to the sickest patients first.

Transplant Surgery

When a liver becomes available for your transplant surgery, you will receive a call from one of Tampa General Hospital’s transplant donor coordinators. Because this call can come at any time of the day or night, it’s important that you always answer your phone – and that TGH has a way to reach you if you are at work or visiting with friends or family. When you receive your call, the donor center coordinator will:

  • Review your health status
  • Help determine whether you should stop taking any of medicines, including insulin
  • Remind you what to bring to the hospital
  • Provide instructions for coming to TGH and checking in
  • Provide you with an outline of the expected processes and updates on the transplant as they are made available

When you arrive at the hospital, a transplant coordinator will greet you at your room to discuss the procedure and answer any questions.

Life After Transplant
After surgery you will need to stay within a few hour’s drive of Tampa General for the next four to six weeks. If you live outside of this geographical radius, our social workers can assist you with finding appropriate housing, and Tampa General’s Transplant Houses may be a viable option. If you were very sick before your procedure was performed, you may be discharged to a local rehabilitation facility for a short time to help you regain physical strength before you return to your home or other lodging. During the four to six weeks following your surgery, you will make important, regular post-operation visits so our team can monitor your progress and note any signs of infection or organ rejection. These visits will also include clinic visits and lab testing and frequency will be determined by your care team. Every patient that receives a liver transplant from our hospital is different, so the specific post-operative examination schedule can vary. However, here is a sample of what a typical patient can expect:

Patient Story - Richard Croker