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Liver Transplant (cont.)

Exams and Tests

If a patient comes to the hospital or an emergency department, the doctor will obtain blood tests, liver function tests, blood clotting tests, electrolytes, and kidney function tests. The doctor may also draw blood levels of certain immunosuppressive medications to make sure they are in the right range. If an infection is considered possible, cultures for viruses, bacteria, fungi, and other organisms may be grown. These may be checked for in the urine, sputum, and blood.

Pretransplant tests are done to evaluate the severity of the liver disease and to determine where the patient should be placed on the waiting list. Once this initial evaluation is complete, the case is presented to a review committee of physicians and other staff members of the hospital. If the person is accepted as a candidate, he or she is placed on the waiting list for a liver transplant. A recipient may undergo some of the following tests before the transplantation:

  • CT scan of the abdomen: This is a computerized picture of the liver that allows the doctor to determine the liver size and to identify any abnormalities, including liver tumors, that may interfere with the success of a liver transplantation.
  • Ultrasound of the liver: This is a study that uses sound waves to create a picture of the liver and the surrounding organs. It also determines how well the blood vessels that carry blood to and from the liver are working.
  • ECG: Short for electrocardiogram, this is a study that shows the electrical activity of the heart.
  • Blood tests: These include blood type, blood cell count, blood chemistries, and viral studies.
  • Dental clearance: A person's regular dentist may fill out the form. Immunosuppressive medications may increase the chance of infection and if the teeth have cavities or periodontal disease, this can lead to infection. Therefore, a dental evaluation is important before beginning these medicines.
  • Gynecological clearance: The patient's gynecologist may provide clearance.
  • Purified protein derivative (PPD) skin test: The PPD test is performed on the arm to check for any exposure to tuberculosis.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/24/2014
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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Liver Transplant:

Liver Transplant - Causes

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Liver Transplantation »

Research into the possibility of liver transplantation (LT) started before the 1960s with the pivotal baseline work of Thomas Starzl in Chicago and Boston, where the initial LT techniques were researched in dogs.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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