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The Referral Process for Becoming a Liver Transplant Patient in TGH’s Transplant Institute

male physician talking with a female patientTampa General Hospital’s Transplant Institute provides comprehensive, interdisciplinary care for adult liver transplant patients. Our dedicated staff is here to guide you and your family through the transplant process.

To become a patient in our transplant program, our team will first review your referral to the program, at which point, our referral coordinator will contact you directly. Additional records may be requested if they’re not included in the referral. Common records that our referral coordinators will need include office notes from your gastroenterologist or primary care physician, lab reports, imaging scans, and any procedure reports from testing that has been performed within the last 12 months. These records will help us determine which type of treatment is best for you at this time.

The Initial Consultation

Once we have reviewed all of your records, we’ll be in touch to coordinate and schedule a date for your initial consultation. If you are currently hospitalized at TGH, you can be referred to our transplant team for an inpatient evaluation. However, all non-hospitalized patients will have their consultations scheduled to take place at our outpatient Transplant & Specialty Services facility, located at 409 Bayshore Blvd.

Before your consultation takes place, our team will be in touch with you to:

  • Coordinate communications with you, your physicians, our liver transplant program health care team, and any other departments at Tampa General that might be involved in your change to care
  • Reach out to your insurance company to help secure coverage for your evaluation and treatment
  • Mail you a new patient packet, which includes a medical history form and other necessary new patient information paperwork, along with a map and directions to our liver transplant center and a list of hotels in the Tampa Bay area

In order to ensure that the best possible treatment options are available to you, we recommend securing a referral to our transplant program as early as possible. In the case of an emergency or a hospital-to-hospital referral, your physician may contact our transfer center directly by calling (813) 844-7979. In some cases, depending on the severity of your case, you may be transferred to Tampa General for more immediate evaluation.

Conditions Appropriate for Referral to TGH

liver referral form buttonThe liver transplant program within Tampa General Hospital’s Transplant Institute treats adult patients facing many conditions, including liver cancer, sudden liver failure, and liver diseases that result in cirrhosis. Below, we highlight a few of the common conditions we see among the patients who are referred to our program:

  • Hepatocellular diseases – Cryptogenic disease, autoimmune hepatitis, viral hepatitis, chronic drug-induced disease, and other liver diseases that result in cirrhosis are all noted liver transplant conditions.
  • Cholestatic diseases – Primary and secondary causes of cholestasis resulting in cirrhosis are appropriate conditions for a liver transplant. The most common primary diseases are primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) and primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), while secondary diseases include Byler’s syndrome, biliary atresia, secondary sclerosing cholangitis, and familial cholestatic disorders.
  • Primary hepatic tumors – Individuals affected by this condition must not be candidates for surgical resection, and their liver tumors must be confined to their livers (with no vascular involvement and no metastases) in order to be eligible for a liver transplant. Individuals with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) will be evaluated for transplant if they meet Milan criteria. People with HCC who do not meet Milan criteria but are within University of California San Francisco (UCSF) criteria may be considered for a transplant if their alpha-fetoprotein levels are decreasing and they are responding to chemoembolization therapy.
  • Inborn errors of metabolism – Some diseases in this category that are appropriate liver transplant conditions, such as Wilson’s disease, tyrosinemia, alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency, and hemochromatosis, may have effects on extra hepatic tissue that results in increased mortality or morbidity. Even some diseases in this category that don’t result in overt liver damage, such as urea cycle defects, homozygous hyperlipoproteinemia, primary hyperoxaluria, and other conditions, can require a liver transplant because of the threat of irreversible cardiac, renal, and/or neurological damage. Furthermore, polycystic liver disease is among the liver transplant conditions that are considered if a person has massive intra-abdominal volumes that impair quality of life and/or compression of the gastrointestinal tract that impedes adequate oral nutrition.
  • Vascular diseases of the liver – Individuals with Budd-Chiari syndrome and veno-occlusive disease will be considered for transplant if portal hypertension cannot be controlled.
  • Fulminant liver failure – This condition is defined as the onset of hepatic encephalopathy within eight weeks of the first symptoms of liver disease and the absence of pre-existing liver disease. A transplant should be considered as an emergency procedure if medical treatment alone has a poor prognosis.

If you have a liver condition that is not listed above, we still recommend that contact our transplant team to find out whether you meet the criteria to be referred into our program. If you’re not eligible to join our transplant waitlist, our team of health care providers can still provide you with exceptional managed care support.

Should you have any questions about becoming a patient in our transplant program at TGH’s Transplant Institute, you can call 1-800-505-7769 (press 4 for the liver transplant program and ask for the referral coordinator) or call the coordinator directly at (813) 844-8686. Our liver transplant program is one of the busiest in the nation, ranked #7 by volume.  Complete the transplant referral form here.