Is there a waiting period for transplant?

If you are accepted for transplantation, you will be placed on a national computer list of active candidates waiting for a donor.  Recipients are chosen according to a complex set of criteria, including MELD Score (Model for End Stage Liver Disease) blood type, and length of time on the waiting list. Recipients are chosen primarily on the basis of medical urgency within each ABO blood group. Waiting time is only a factor when patients have the same MELD score.   The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) coordinates the equitable sharing of organs throughout the United States and oversees all donor centers and procurement agencies.

MELD SCORE -  is a numerical scale used for adult liver transplant candidates. The range is from 6 (less ill) to 40 (gravely ill). The individual score determines how urgently a patient needs a liver transplant. The number is calculated using your most recent laboratory tests. For additional information please log on to www.unos.org.

Lab values used in the MELD calculation:

  • Bilirubin, which measures how effectively the liver excretes bile;
  • INR (formally known as the prothrombin time), measures the liver’s ability to make blood clotting factors;
  • Creatinine, which measures kidney function. Impaired kidney function is often associated with severe liver disease.