Liver transplantation is a surgical procedure to replace the liver in a patient who has end-stage (serious) liver disease or liver failure with some or all of a healthy liver from another person. In adults, the most common conditions that may lead to liver transplantation include hepatitis C, hepatitis B, alcoholic liver disease, primary biliary cirrhosis, primary sclerosing cholangitis, autoimmune hepatitis, and fatty liver disease; among children, those conditions include cholestatic disease and certain metabolic disorders. Liver transplantation dates back to the 1960s and is a complex and lengthy surgical process involving several surgeons and anesthesiologists, and it requires a donor of similar size and blood type as the recipient.
UAB is the only liver transplant center in Alabama and one of only 20 nationally that average 100 or more liver transplants annually. Due to the wide geographic area served, UAB has a streamlined transplant evaluation process for the convenience of patients, who receive care from a multidisciplinary team in a state-of-the-art operating complex.
UAB’s liver transplantation program began in 1983, and it maintains robust clinical and basic science research efforts. The three-year patient survival rate of 87% at UAB is much higher than the national average of 77.5%. UAB is the only transplant center within the Alabama Organ Center, which boasts a donation rate of 30 per million-population and a conversion rate of 81%, both of which are much higher than reported national averages.
After leaving the surgical intensive care unit, liver transplant recipients are transferred to the dedicated liver transplant ward, which is continuously staffed by a dedicated transplant nursing team. Following discharge, out-of-town patients may stay at the UAB Townhouse, a converted hotel that provides patients with a measure of independence but also offers easy and convenient access to transplant aftercare during the early post-operative period. The liver transplant clinic is located in The Kirklin Clinic of UAB Hospital, in close proximity to laboratory and radiology services. A Liver Disease Support Group meets regularly and publishes an informative newsletter.
UAB Transplant: A Tradition of Innovation
Jan Duke is on a mission to help inspire other transplant patients, following her own life saving liver transplant at UAB.
Jan Duke got the call of a lifetime when word came that the liver needed to save her life was available. A few hours later, a dedicated team of transplant experts at UAB Hospital began the successful surgery to save Duke's life. Watch her story and hear from the man who led the transplant team, Dr. Derek Dubay.
UAB is an active participant in research and clinical trials. We encourage you to speak to your physician about research and clinical trial options and browse the link below for more information.View Clinical Trials
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Full-Circle Kindness: Transplant Patients Hope to Inspire Others