Transplant Team Expands Living Liver Donor Program
Only a handful of liver transplant centers in the U.S. share the success rates that the UW Health Transplant program has maintained for years. Program wait times for liver transplantation are among the shortest in the country. The team is constantly engaged in initiatives to improve the care of liver transplant recipients, create a new CME module on living liver transplant and participate in national and international clinical trials to research immunosuppressive agents to improve quality of life for recipients.
With federal changes to liver allocation, the number of organs available for transplant in Wisconsin is expected to decrease, widening the gap between organs and the number of patients on the transplant waiting list. Live donor liver transplant helps close the gap so patients receive their transplant before is too late.
Recent studies show patients with a MELD score of less than 15 have a survival advantage when they receive a liver from a live donor compared to those listed but who have not received a transplant. Patients with a MELD score greater than 15 who are transplanted with living donor livers also have a survival advantage when compared to those transplanted with deceased donors.
Along with new technology that improves safety for both donors and recipients, the UW Health team has created a consortium with international programs that provides a much larger scale for studying the benefits of live donor liver transplant. Together with Will Burlingham, PhD, they are studying ways to minimize or withdraw immunosuppressive therapy.