Once your pretransplant evaluation is completed, the multidisciplinary liver transplant care team will review your evaluation. If you meet Rush's criteria for transplant, you will be placed on the waiting lists for a donor liver. The lists are maintained by Gift of Hope (Illinois' organ bank) and the nationwide United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).
Transplants from deceased donors are from a donor who has been declared brain dead and who registered to be an organ donor while still living or whose family gives consent to organ donation. Rush has been an active participant in both local and national organ-sharing programs for nearly 30 years. The surgical team at Rush is available on a 24-hour basis to respond to offers of organs for our patients. The majority of the deceased donor organs come through Gift of Hope, but organs may come from anywhere in the United States.
The sickest patients on the waiting list are given the highest priority for transplant. The availability of a donor liver also depends on such compatibility factors as whether you and a potential donor have the same blood and tissue type and the presence of antibodies in your blood that could harm the transplanted organ or cause your body to reject it.
Some people choose to be listed at more than one transplant center, but that does not guarantee that you will receive a transplant sooner. Gift of Hope only allows patients to be listed at one transplant center in Illinois. If you want to investigate being listed at multiple centers, you should contact your insurance company to see which other centers might be an option.
Patients may transfer their primary waiting time from one transplant center to another center. Transferring centers may be necessary for a number of reasons, like a change of insurance.
While you're waiting, live your life. The wait for your donor liver can last several years. Don't wait until you have a transplant to live your life to its fullest.
(Next: Preparing for a transplant)