Frequently Asked Questions - Liver Transplant for Patients
Most people with liver disease will never need a transplant--including patients living with alcoholic liver disease, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, or non-alcoholic fatty liver. Only a very small fraction of patients will eventually need a transplant. Your doctor will decide whether you need one. If a transplant is being considered, patients will need to have an extensive evaluation and undergo many tests, and then typically will be placed on a transplant wait list. Almost 17,500 people were waiting for new livers in mid-2005. The waiting list is long due to a shortage of organs for donation. For more information, go to Liver Transplant Program.
No. A liver transplant does not cure the hepatitis B virus or the hepatitis C virus infection itself. The virus will still be present in the body after a transplant and will come back in the new liver. Hepatitis B treatment and hepatitis C treatment can be used in patients before a transplant or after a transplant. For hepatitis B patients, the treatment will usually be lifelong. For hepatitis C patients, treatment will be for a fixed amount of time. Prescribing treatment of the hepatitis B virus or the hepatitis C virus either before or after transplant should only be done by an expert.
According to UNOS (United Network for Organ Sharing), about 85 to 90% of people who have liver transplants will be alive one year later. Approximately 75 to 85% of people will survive at least five years after a transplant.