What are the criteria for a living donor for liver transplant?

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It is important for living liver transplant donors to enjoy superior mental and physical health. People under the age of 18 and over the age of 55 are not permitted to donate part of their liver. Neither are obese individuals or those with hypertension, liver disease, heart disease, or any chronic diseases allowed to donate.

Ajay K. Sahajpal, MD
Transplant Surgery

The criteria for the recipient is that they have to meet indications for transplant and be deemed not too sick or too high MELD so that they can tolerate a partial liver instead of a full (cadaveric donor) liver.

The criteria for the donor vary based on program, but in general:

  • The donor has to be medically fit to tolerate major surgery.
  • The anatomy of the donor liver has to be evaluated in advance to see if it is suitable for removing part safely.
  • Blood group matching
  • Social/psychological evaluation of donor and rule out any evidence of coercion to donate.
Living donors must be ages 20-60 usually. They must be in good general health with no significant medical conditions. They must be able to take time off of work for the surgery and recovery. They must be willing to follow up with the transplant center.
Medical evaluation of living donors takes place at the state-of-the-art Comprehensive Transplant Outpatient Center located at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia. This evaluation includes blood tests, physical examination, abdominal ultrasound, MRI, and social work and psychiatric consultations. A wide range of educational and support services are available for both donors and recipients.
The general criteria for a living liver donor include:
  • good general health
  • a blood type compatible with the recipient's
  • an altruistic motivation for donating
  • being a family member or someone emotionally close to the recipient
The National Living Donor Assistance Center (NLDAC), established by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), provides financial assistance for travel, lodging, and meals to those who want to donate an organ and would otherwise not be able to afford these expenses.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.