Vanderbilt University Medical Center announced the launch of a living liver donor transplant program that will allow patients’ relatives to donate liver grafts, according to a press release.
“A live donor liver transplant is one way to address the shortage of critically needed organs,” Sophoclis Alexopoulos, MD, chief of liver transplantation at the center, said in the release. “The reason why we perform a liver transplant is to save a life. You’re taking somebody who has end-stage liver disease and you’re giving them a healthy portion of liver, and many of the signs and symptoms of liver disease begin to immediately resolve. You’re giving somebody an opportunity to live.”
Alexopoulos anticipates eventually reaching a point in which 10% to 15% of liver transplantations performed at Vanderbilt Transplant Center will be from living donors.
Criteria for donors includes a questionnaire, visit with a doctor advocate and medical evaluation, along with blood compatibility with their relative with no history of addiction to drugs or alcohol, major psychiatric illnesses, or chronic medical conditions.
The program, approved by the United Network for Organ Sharing, will serve both adult and pediatric patients.
“It is important for Vanderbilt to be able to offer this life-saving service to the residents of Middle Tennessee,” Seth Karp, MD, professor and chair of the section of surgical sciences at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and director of the Vanderbilt Transplant Center, said. “This is a natural next step for our liver transplant program, which is one of the largest in the country. Dr. Alexopoulos has built a team of extraordinary quality that will be able to help both adults and children in need of liver transplantation.”