How long do I have to wait for a liver transplant?

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Manish Thapar, MD
Transplant Hepatology
Most of the time people end up waiting months for a liver transplant. It varies a little bit from your region and on your blood group, but you may end up waiting for months for an offer for a liver.

There is a long waiting list for livers for transplant in the U.S. There is a big shortage of livers in the country, and doctors are constantly trying to raise awareness to people and their family members to be organ donors. It is estimated about one-third of the people on the liver transplant list actually die every year waiting for an organ.

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If you need a transplant, your name will be placed on a national waiting list kept at the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). Your blood type, body size, and how sick you are, play a role in when you will receive a liver. Currently, the sickest people are at the top of the list, so you may have to wait a long time.

While you wait for a new liver, you and your doctor should talk about what you can do to stay strong for the surgery. You will also need to start learning about taking care of a new liver.

This answer is based on source information from The National Digestive Disease Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC).

The period of waiting for liver transplantation varies depending on factors including the type of transplant to be performed, severity of illness, and others. During this challenging period, it is important for patients to maintain their physical and emotional health as well as possible, to maintain close contact with the Center, and to be prepared to travel to the hospital at a moment's notice when a donor organ becomes available.

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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.