The Liver Transplant Evaluation Process at Tampa General Hospital
When seeking approval for a liver transplant at Tampa General Hospital, a thorough evaluation will be conducted over a period of several weeks. The process begins as soon as we receive a referral form from your primary doctor or gastroenterologist; your referral coordinator will look over the information and schedule you for an initial consultation if you meet our liver transplant criteria. From there, if a formal liver transplant evaluation is warranted, we will contact your insurance company to get authorization for further testing.
These liver transplant evaluation appointments, which can be conducted as inpatient or outpatient, help us determine if a transplant is the best option for your specific situation. When you meet with Tampa General’s transplant team members, you will need to have:
- Your medications
- Comfortable clothing and walking shoes
- Reading material (for the waiting periods between your tests)
- Money for food and drinks
- A friend or family member accompanying you to help you take notes and ask questions
To help us identify any potential conditions that could shorten your life after a transplant, we will conduct a number of medical examinations. Candidates for all of our transplant programs will receive an echocardiogram, an electrocardiogram, blood tests, cancer screenings, scans and X-rays, and a review of routine health care records, including flu shots. (Click here for more information on the necessity for these tests.) Patients undergoing a liver transplant evaluation will also receive:
- A bone scan to check for abnormalities or “hot spots” that could possibly indicate a tumor or bone infection
- An upper endoscopy (EGD), which allows a physician to look at the esophagus, stomach, and upper duodenum
- A colonoscopy, which allows a physician to visually check the colon for signs of colorectal cancer, colitis, diverticulitis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and other abnormalities
- An ultrasound of the liver, which uses sound waves to check for blocked vessels, blood clots, and other potential issues
- Breathing tests, which determine lung function and the heart’s ability to pass oxygen into the blood stream
Once your liver transplant evaluation is complete, your liver transplant team will discuss your results at a convening of our Medical Review Board and determine if any additional tests are required. Although you will not be present for the review, your transplant coordinator will let you know if you have been approved for a liver transplant. If your evaluation suggests that 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.