Surgery for liver transplantation
The liver transplant programme began in 1988 and since then more than 1100 liver transplants have been performed. Progress in the transplant field has led to the development of a range of techniques, which are all available here at the Royal Free Hospital. Split grafts (two grafts from one liver), organs from non-heart beating donors and living-related liver transplantation are currently performed at our Institution.
Patients with hepatocellular carcinoma, advanced chronic liver disease and liver cirrhosis are admitted for an extensive but rapid assessment to establish their suitability for transplantation. Patients with acute liver failure are urgently transferred to our Intensive Care Unit, where joint care between intensivists, hepatologists and surgeons, is essential in the management of multiple organ failure and to select those cases which would benefit from liver transplantation.
Five transplant co-ordinators work in the transplant team. Part of their role is to provide patients and families with customised information and psychological support, throughout the transplant process. After the transplant, they give advice about the necessary medications and how the patient can return to a normal lifestyle.