Liver transplantation was first performed in British Columbia in 1989. At present, about 60 to 70 adults undergo liver transplantation annually in B.C.
- You must be a BC resident with a Personal Care Card Number
- You must be referred by your specialist to the Liver Transplant Team at Vancouver General Hospital, in Vancouver
- If you have a history of addiction to alcohol and/or drugs, you must attend Alcohol and Drug Relapse Prevention Counselling. For more information, please download the following documents: Request for addiction counselling (PDF) and Information for Patients (PDF).
Although transplantation is considered an established form of treatment for end-stage organ failure, it is not suitable for everyone, so every potential transplant patient must be carefully assessed. The assessment phase starts when your specialist or family doctor refers you to the transplant team. Each referring specialist in BC has a copy of the Referral Guidelines for Liver Transplantation.
During the assessment, you will have several tests and be interviewed by various team members to determine whether transplantation is the best treatment option for you. The tests may include:
- routine blood work
- x-ray of the heart and lungs
- abdominal ultrasound
- CT scan
- pulmonary function tests
- ECG and echocardiogram.
Patients selected for liver transplantation have advanced liver disease for which there is no other medical or surgical therapy.
Your Transplant Team
Your transplant team consists of experts who will take care of you throughout the transplantation process. Some of the team members are described below, but you may also meet others. Everyone is an important member of the team; however, the amount of time you spend with each will depend on your individual needs.
Clinical Coordinator: These nurses coordinate your pre-transplant assessment, and provide you and your family, referring specialist, and family physician with information on transplantation and your progress from the time of referral until the transplant is completed. The coordinator also provides you with access to other members of the transplant team.
Medical Hepatologists: These doctors have specialized in the care of your specific organ. They are involved in your assessment, your health care before transplantation, and your long-term health care following transplantation.
Surgeons: These doctors are specialists in transplant surgery, and will meet with you during your assessment. They perform the transplant surgery and are responsible for your health care immediately after surgery.
Dietitian: The dietitian assesses your nutritional needs and helps you put together a personal dietary plan to keep you in the best possible health before and after your transplant.
Social Worker: The social worker takes part in your pre-transplant assessment and is available throughout the transplantation process to provide you and your family with emotional support, information, and resource counseling.
Psychologist: The psychologist takes part in your pre-transplant assessment to help you with psychological concerns such as coping with stress, understanding mood changes, and managing pain.
Intensive Care Unit Nurses: These nurses are responsible for your care for the first few days following surgery.
Physiotherapists: The physiotherapists help you with a series of physical exercises designed to speed you along the road to recovery. They will start meeting with you while you are still in intensive care.
For more information please contact:
Pre-Assessment Transplant Clinic
Vancouver General Hospital
Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre
Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street
Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9
604.875.5182 or 1.855.875.5182