Why consider living donor liver transplantation ?

Adults on liver transplant lists currently wait up to many months for a liver transplant. Unfortunately, about 15% of patients waiting for a transplant will die before a liver becomes available fromadeceased donor.

Our Transplant programme encourages patients and their families to consider the possibility of living donor liver transplant. This is another option to help meet this organ shortage.

Who can be a liver donor ?

  1. A blood relative or spouse who shares compatible blood group with the patient
  2. Between the ages of 18 and 50 years
  3. In good health – not a diabetic or no major heart problems
  4. Voluntarily willing to donate

Living donation is not possible for all patients due to medical reasons

The workup process :

The Transplant Coordinator and the Transplant surgical team will  provide information to all patients and their tamiiies regardingliving donation.

If a person wants to be considered as a potential living donor  then the Liver  transplant teamand  Coordinators wilI start the process and organise preliminary investigations for assessment.

The investigation involves such tests as blood  tests, chest x-ray, CT scan and ultrasound,and finally if required a liver biopsy.

There are also several important meetings with members of  the transplant team (surgeon, physician, cardiologist,anaesthetist etc ) who wiII help to determine your suitability for living donation and ensure this is the right decision for you and your family.

As part of the process an independent assessor will ensure that necessary legal requirements are met as an additional safeguard before being presented to the state authorisation committee

What does the operation involve?

The donor surgery lasts about 6 hours. The Liver Transplant surgeons remove about half  the donor’s liver, which is then transplanted into the recipient. Within 6-to 12  weeks the liver grows  to approximately  90%  of  its  original size and  in about 3weeks and function returns to normal.

The  hospital  stay  is, on  average 7-10 days. Donors can usually return to work after 8 -12 weeks, although lifting of heavy weights is not advisable for another 4 – 12 weeks

What are the risks to the donors ?

As with any major surgery there are risks. For this procedure.these include:

  1. Problems with the anaesthetic, wou Infections, pneumonia and blood clots in the lungs or  legs
  2. Bleeding
  3. Bile leakage / blockage
  4. Psychological stress
  5. Death-0.03%

These risks  will  be fully  explained  when the  donor meets with the transplant  team

“ It is important to know that at any time of the process, the donor has the right to withdraw the consent to donate or the transplant team may decide it is not appropriate to proceed with the liver donation.

What are the advantages of living donor transplant ?

Advantages to the Iiving donation


  • Shorter waiting time- the transplant canbe done before the recipients health deteriorates further
  • High-quality donor organ
  • Planned “elective” operation
  • Opportunity for the donor to “give the gift of life” to a family member

The patient waiting for a liver transplant will remain on the global hospitals waiting list for a cadaveric donor

Should a cadaveric organ become available then that will have priority to the living donor right up to the day planned for living donation transplant.