Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust
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The Sheila Sherlock Liver Centre
The Sheila Sherlock Liver Centre for liver transplant and liver medicine

Liver medicine and translplant - Assessing your requirements

So we can decide whether or not a transplant is the best option, it is necessary to have a series of tests which we can conduct at the Royal Free on ward 10 North. The assessment, usually completed within five days, consists of a variety of medical tests designed to give a thorough picture of your overall health status. It is possible that your tests will not ‘qualify’ you for a transplant until your disease has progressed far enough to warrant the relative risk.

The tests you can expect to take are:

  • Blood tests to test for anything in your blood that may contribute to your liver disease
  • Ultrasound, used to create a picture of your liver and the surrounding organs and to show blood flow to and from the liver
  • CT scan of the abdomen and head, a computerised X-ray picture of the liver
  • Magnetic Resonance Image used to visualise the liver and the blood cells
  • Endoscopy whereby a flexible fibre-optic tube is passed into your mouth and stomach to check for the enlarged veins that are often the result of chronic liver disease
  • A Bone Density Scan, chronic liver disease can cause a degree of osteoporosis
  • An Electroencephalogram (EEG) to record any changes in your brainwave patterns
  • An Echocardiogram + ECG which uses sound waves to asses your heart function and then records the electrical activity of your heart under stress
  • X-rays of your chest, spine, pelvis and hands are taken
  • Nutritional assessment, the dietician will discuss the types of food you have been eating and will check for muscle wastage
  • Depending in the type of liver disease you are suffering from, it my be necessary to conduct a liver biopsy under local anaesthetic, a special needle is inserted through the skin on the right hand side of your abdomen, to remove a small piece of tissue from your liver which assists in the diagnosis of your liver disease

page last reviewed: 25 January 2010