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Pre-Donation Evaluation

Every potential liver donor will need to go through a number of exams. Completing the entire donor evaluation may take several weeks, so you should be aware that this process can be time-consuming. The evaluations for potential liver donors include:

  • Blood tests
  • Chest x-ray
  • CT scan
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG)
  • Physical exam
  • Tissue matching

You also will need to have a consult with each member of our multidisciplinary donor evaluation team to guarantee that no detail has gone unnoticed.

Additional testing may be needed depending on certain medical indications, your age, gender or health condition. They include:

  • Liver biopsy
  • Age-specific health screening
  • Echocardiogram
  • Psychosocial assessment

Liver Donor Requirements & Qualifications

Live liver donors are relatives, friends or close acquaintances of the person who needs the liver transplant. Donors require a compatible blood type and body size as determined by height and weight. Potential liver donors qualify by having no serious medical condition such as liver disease, diabetes, heart disease, or cancer.

Live liver donor requirements include:

  • Be a willing adult between age 18 and 60
  • Be willing to commit to the pre-donation evaluation process, surgery, and burden of recovery
  • Be a family member, friend, colleague, or close acquaintance
  • Be in good health and psychological condition
  • Be of compatible blood type
  • Have normal liver and kidney function
  • May not be overweight
  • Be willing to abstain from alcohol until fully recovered

There are certain situations that may require the liver donor to go through additional steps to determine whether donation is in their best interest. These include donors who:

  • Are over age 50
  • Have a remote history of substance abuse
  • Have a body mass index (BMI) greater than 28
  • Have a first-degree relative with certain types of liver disease

There are certain circumstances in which a person would be ineligible to donate. This includes donors who:

  • Are under age 18
  • Suffer from heart disease or lung disease
  • Have an incompatible blood type
  • Have HIV or hepatitis
  • Are active substance abusers
  • Have a psychiatric illness

Compatible Blood Types for Liver Transplant

The blood type of the donor and recipient do not have to be identical, but they must be compatible. Blood group “O” is called the “universal donor” and may donate blood or organs to any other blood type; however, they may only receive blood or organs from another person with type “O.” A patient with blood type “O” can only receive a liver from a donor who is also blood type “O.” Patients with blood type “AB” may receive a liver from donors of any blood type. Patients with blood type “A” need a liver donor who is “O” or “A” and patients with blood type “B” need a donor who is “O” or “B.” If you’re not compatible with the intended recipient, you will not meet qualifications to donate your liver to that person, but maybe another friend or relative will.