You can trust your life to our experience and survival rates.

Trusted Experience

Our top-rated surgeons have performed more than 2,000 liver transplants to date and our patients spend less time on the waitlist than the national average.

Results-Driven

The survival rate of UW Medicine’s waitlisted patients and transplant recipients is among the highest in the U.S. Among critical patients, the survival rate after waitlisting was 100 percent.

Research You Can Use

Our transplant patients have ample opportunities to participate in clinical trials and research studies aimed at better understanding disease and refining treatments.

Some of our common services:

This rare condition occurs when your liver suddenly loses the ability to function, usually as the result of a medication overdose or poisoning. Chronic liver failure, on the other hand, occurs over a long period of time. Our specialists are expert at diagnosing and treating acute liver failure, and evaluating whether a liver transplant is necessary.

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This is inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Over time, HCV can reduce and halt the liver’s ability to function properly. To diagnose HCV, our liver specialists administer blood tests to detect its presence and take biopsies to determine its damage to the liver.

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Emotional support is an important part of your treatment. Support groups and community resources can help you and your loved ones through treatment and recovery. There is a liver transplant support group held at UW Medical Center on the first and third Tuesdays of the month, from 4-5 p.m. in the Plaza Cafe conference rooms A/B. For more information, call Stacey McCandlish at 206.598.4599 or Sara Houck at 206.598.3870​.

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People who drink a lot can develop alcohol-related liver disease, which can cause inflammation and scarring of the liver and sometimes liver failure. Treatment includes dietary changes, medications and participation in an alcohol treatment program. A liver transplant might be an option if you've completed a rehab program and gone through alcohol detox.

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When a diseased liver fails to work, it needs to be replaced by a healthy liver. Our liver doctors and transplant surgeons offer comprehensive medical and surgical care to people who live with liver disease or liver failure and may need a liver transplant. Our top-rated surgeons have performed more than 2,000 liver transplants to date and our patients spend less time on the waitlist than the national average.

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Providers: To have your patient evaluated for our Hepatitis C Clinic, Hepatology Clinic or Liver Transplant Clinic, download and complete the Liver Care Line Consultation Request form and fax it to 206-598-4287. If you have any questions about the program or want to schedule an appointment, call 206.598.4973.

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Your liver transplant care team includes a number of people:

  • A transplant coordinator provides education about the process and is your advocate throughout.
  • A transplant hepatologist determines whether you are a good candidate for transplant.
  • A transplant surgeon meets with you to discuss the significance of having the surgery, the transplant procedure, risks, possible complications and recovery process.
  • A transplant pharmacist will teach you about the medicines you will be taking after your transplant.
  • A social worker will evaluate your ability to cope with the stress of having a transplant identifies your support network.
  • A financial counselor will talk to you about associated costs and insurance coverage.
  • A psychiatrist may conduct an in-depth psychiatric evaluation.
  • A dietitian will assess your diet and provide nutrition education.
  • You may also be referred to another service for consultation to check for other medical conditions.

With nearly 600 new visits annually, our Liver Tumor Clinic is one of the busiest clinics in the country devoted to treating noncancerous and cancerous liver tumors. The Center for Advanced Minimally Invasive Liver Oncologic Therapy (CAMILOT) at UW Medical Center is the treatment arm of the Liver Tumor Clinic. It's the longest operating and first of its kind multidisciplinary clinic in the Pacific Northwest and offers patients a central location for consultations about malignant or benign liver tumors.

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Patients being considered for a liver transplant undergo a variety of evaluations to test psychological, social and physical readiness. Blood and other diagnostic tests are performed to identify a donor match and gain a picture of overall health before the procedure.

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This condition means that you have damage to your liver that builds up over time, causing cirrhosis (scarring) and impairing liver function. Sometimes treatments and lifestyle modifications can allow your liver to heal. But in other cases, chronic liver disease progresses to the point that a liver transplant is needed.

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People who receive living-donor transplants may experience shorter waiting periods and better life expectancies. The United Network for Organ Sharing, the authority on the nation's policies for organ transplantation and procurement, has certified UW Medicine as an elite living-donor liver transplant center.

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Ours is the only transplant center in the region with a specialized transplant infectious disease (ID) team. The transplant ID team consists of a group of board-certified ID physicians with expertise in transplant infections. Through close attention and monitoring, our care team works with you to minimize the risk of infection following the transplant procedure. Infection can occur in the new organ or the tissue surrounding it. Your care team will also monitor for any bronchial tube problems following the transplant.

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This branch of medicine deals with the study, prevention, diagnosis and management of liver diseases and disorders. Our liver experts work with the liver transplant care team, assessing patients before liver transplantation and providing superb follow-up care afterward.

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Inform yourself to make the best choices for your health and care with UW Medicine patient education resources. Find out what to expect when faced with a liver transplant.

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Rejection of the new liver remains a risk of organ transplantation. Rejection occurs when the body interprets the new organ as foreign tissue and attacks it as an immune response. Medicines must be taken following the transplant procedure to decrease the immune response and diminish the risk of rejection.

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Condition Spotlight

Acute liver failure

Overview

The liver converts food and drink into energy and nutrients for your body to use. It filters out harmful substances, like alcohol, from your blood, and it helps your body fight off infection. Acute, sudden onset liver failure is rare and often happens after a drug overdose or poisoning.

Symptoms

Symptoms, which can develop within weeks or days, include diarrhea, discomfort on your right side below your ribs, fatigue, loss of appetite or nausea. As the disease worsens, patients may become confused, bruise or bleed easily, vomit blood and have fluid build-up in the abdomen.

Risk factors and causes

Autoimmune diseases can cause acute liver failure. Risk factors also include large doses of acetaminophen; using illicit drugs, having unprotected sex, getting a tattoo or piercing in an unsanitary environment; drinking alcohol excessively; not getting vaccinated for Hepatitis A/B and exposure to toxic chemicals.

Diagnosis

Liver failure is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention. Your provider will likely do an evaluation, including a blood test, to determine if you've been exposed to toxins or if you have a history of drug use, and to check for signs of hepatitis like jaundice, fatigue and abdominal pain.

Treatment

If viral hepatitis is the cause, your healthcare provider may prescribe drugs. If autoimmune hepatitis is the cause, steroid treatments may help. Activated charcoal might be given to absorb excessive acetaminophen if that’s the cause. A liver biopsy may also be recommended to determine treatment.

Complications

Common complications of acute liver failure include bacterial and fungal infections and low blood sugar. Swelling of the brain is another side effect, and one of the most serious. Confusion, abdominal swelling and abnormal bleeding are also common.

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