3 Steps to Start the Liver Transplant Process

second opinion patient and doctor

We understand that considering liver transplantation can sometimes seem overwhelming, so we’ve put together a quick guide on how to begin the liver transplant process. Here are three steps to help get you started.

Get a referral to the Penn Liver Transplant team

The liver transplant process begins with a referral to Penn Liver Transplant Team. The referral – or request for record review – can be made by you or your gastroenterologist and starts with your records being faxed to 215-662-2244. Records are received and reviewed by a transplant nurse practitioner within 48 to 72 hours of receiving them.

Once reviewed, your records are then sent to the transplant finance team for approval by the insurance company. As soon as clearance is received, your will be called to schedule the appointment date.  

It’s good to keep in mind that appointments are only scheduled on Mondays. If you are a liver tumor patient, please also send ahead your tumor images or bring them with you on a disc for the team to review.

Make an appointment for a liver transplant evaluation

Because it is a thorough, multi-disciplinary team evaluation, an appointment with the Penn Liver Transplant team begins at 7:30 am and generally ends at 4:00 pm. 

When you arrive, a medical assistant will take your vital signs, and then there will be a 45-minute group education session. 

During the education session, you will learn about the indications for liver transplantation, details regarding the evaluations and listing process, and information about the surgical procedure and recovery. 

After the education session, you will be taken to an exam room and have an opportunity to meet individually with the following team members:

  • Transplant hepatologist
  • Transplant surgeon
  • Transplant nutritionist
  • Transplant finance coordinator
  • Transplant social worker
  • Transplant nurse coordinator

Once you've had a chance to meet with the team, there will be lab work completed and a consultation with cardiology.

As you can imagine, there is quite a bit of important information covered, so it’s strongly suggested that you bring a support person to the evaluation appointment. This person should be someone who can help you process and remember the information you receive and also someone who is willing and able to help you through the recovery period after transplantation.

For patients who live more than 50 miles away from Penn Medicine, the Clyde F. Barker Penn Transplant House is available for you to stay in. The Transplant House is a guest house located four blocks away from the hospital that offers a home away from home for transplant patients and their caregivers. It provides a low-cost place to stay the evening before the appointment, and patients and caregivers are also welcome to stay at the Transplant House at the time of transplant and post-transplant for follow-up visits.

Learn if you're a candidate after our multidisciplinary team review

Weekly, the Penn Liver Transplant team gathers for an in-depth review and discussion of each patient’s case. 

The liver transplant nurse coordinator will call you to let you know the outcome of the team review. If you were not considered a candidate for liver transplantation, the nurse coordinator will explain why. If you are a candidate for liver transplantation, the nurse coordinator will advise you about any additional testing that may be required. 

Once any additional testing is completed, the multidisciplinary team will meet again for a final review of your case. If, after the final review, you are a candidate for liver transplantation, your name is added to the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) transplant waiting list.

While awaiting transplantation support is available bi-weekly at the liver transplant support group. For more information on the support group, please contact liver transplant social worker, Senayish Addis, at 215-615-1773.

To begin the liver transplant evaluation process at Penn, please call 215-662-4554 or fill out our secure online form.

About this Blog

The Penn Medicine Transplant blog features short postings with news about the transplant program at Penn Medicine, notices about upcoming events and health information. Subscribe to the blog and stay connected with Penn's Transplant Program!

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