Liver Transplant Program
The liver transplant program at UK Transplant Center treats patients with end-stage liver disease and liver tumors. Our team of surgeons, nurse practitioners and nurse coordinators, hepatologists, pharmacists, and social workers partner in providing personalized transplant care before, during and after surgery.
When treating patients with liver tumors, our transplant team works closely with the oncologists and surgeons at the UK Markey Cancer Center to ensure the special needs of these patients are met. Additionally, we offer the most advanced treatment available for patients with hepatitis C (hep C), cirrhosis and other diagnoses who are in need of a liver transplant.
The first liver transplant at UK took place in 1995. Since then, our surgeons have performed more than 700 transplants at UK Transplant Center, using state-of-the-art technology and leading-edge medical and surgical interventions to provide the best possible treatment in a caring and compassionate environment.
About liver transplant
A liver transplant is a surgical procedure in which a patient with irreversible liver damage receives a liver from a non-identical donor (allograft). Diseases such as NASH (nonalcoholic fatty liver), primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC/ liver cancer) and cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) may cause irreversible liver damage and subsequent end-stage liver disease (ESLD). One of the most common reasons a liver transplant is performed is for liver cirrhosis caused by hepatitis C or alcohol abuse.
A patient being considered for liver transplantation must undergo an extensive assessment that includes diagnostic testing such as blood work, imaging of the liver and psychological and social counseling. The patient must also be tobacco and drug free. The patient will be required to prove cessation by passing drug screens as well as attending any required rehabilitation program or counseling.
Only after the required criteria is met can the patient being placed on the UNOS (United Network of Organ Sharing) waiting list. A patient’s place on the waiting list will be determined by their MELD (model end-stage liver disease) score. After a liver transplant, the patient will be placed on lifelong anti-rejection medication to prevent the body from rejecting the transplanted liver. Compliance is very important as the transplanted liver may be rejected without adherence to the prescribed medication.
Education & resources
Liver transplant education
This informative brochure explains what you can expect at your first clinic visit.
For additional information about transplant, visit the Web sites listed below. These sites are reputable organizations that offer reliable information.
Make an appointment
If you are a new patient or would like to learn more about UK HealthCare Transplant Center services, please call us toll-free at 866-285-4337
If you are a patient and need to reach a member of your transplant team, please contact us at:
Surviving end-stage organ failure, a liver transplant and cancer takes an extraordinary team
Teresa Schladt was diagnosed at age 35 with alpha-1-antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency, a genetic disorder that can damage the liver and lungs. Her younger brother, David Bishop of Nicholasville, also has the disease and six years ago had a double-lung transplant at UK Chandler Hospital.
Facing permanent brain damage, patient turns to UK for unlikely answer: a liver transplant
In 2011, Bruce Smith sat in his office preparing to make handouts for a meeting, like any other normal work day. But when he sat in front of his computer, he suddenly realized something frightening: He’d lost all understanding of how to use the machine.
The University of Kentucky Abdominal Transplant Support Group is open to patients in all phases of either kidney or liver transplant and their loved ones to discuss the transplant process. The support group is facilitated by our experts in transplant social work and will occasionally feature scheduled topics or presentations. This is a place for supportive sharing and casual conversation about stories and experiences.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the unique health concerns of transplant patients, this support group is closed to in-person meetings. There will be a zoom meeting for those interested. Please email Jacqueline Thomas for information.