Transplant Waiting List
If you are accepted as a transplant candidate, your name will be placed on the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) waiting list, which has strict regulations. Several factors, including what organ is required, affect your placement and priority on the list.
Once your evaluation is complete and the transplant committee has decided that you are a liver transplant candidate, you will be placed on the liver transplant waiting list with UNOS.
Your place on the waiting list is determined by your Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) score. This score roughly correlates with the severity of liver disease. Your individual MELD score will be calculated by entering your lab test results into a formula.
The lab tests used are the bilirubin, creatinine, and INR. Your MELD score will change as your lab test results change. As you become sicker and in greater need of a transplant, your MELD score will increase and lab tests will be done more often. A higher MELD score will result in higher placement on the list, thus resulting in a higher priority for a transplant.
When an organ becomes available, the patient with the highest MELD score within the same or compatible blood group will be offered the organ. Unlike other organ transplants, the liver recipient and the liver donor do not have to be a perfect match.
Being on the transplant waiting list does not mean that all you do is wait. It is important that you continue to be in contact with the transplant team and take an active role in maintaining your health. Here is a list of things to do while waiting for a transplant.
- Make sure the transplant team has all your current contact information, such as your home, cell and pager number and an alternate contact phone number such as a relative, neighbor or close friend. When an organ becomes available, the transplant team must be able to reach you at any time.
- Make sure that you have kept up with all necessary lab work and other necessary tests.
- Stay healthy and work on improving your health to help prevent complications.
- Inform the transplant team of any changes in your health, family, and financial situation.