annette living donor

Living-Donor Transplant: A Choice to Stop Waiting and Keep Living

The holiday season marks a time full of selfless acts of kindness. Yet, few people have experienced the true meaning of “giving the gift of life” like living-organ donors.

Meet Annette. She underwent the ultimate act of kindness in volunteering to become a live donor for her mother, Traute, who was diagnosed with primary biliary cirrhosis, a type of liver disease.

With more than 15,000 Americans on the waitlist for a liver — and only about 5,000 deceased donors — living-donor liver transplant (LDLT) offers many benefits, including shorter time spent on the waitlist for the recipient, and improved long-term outcomes. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, over 61 percent of all living donors were women in 2013. Male donors comprised 39 percent of the remaining living donors who offered up organs to someone on the wait list.

In a living donor liver transplant, a portion of the liver from a healthy family member, friend, or altruistic donor is removed and transplanted in the recipient. The unique ability of the liver to regenerate allows LDLT to be a possibility for select patients.

Surgeons, hepatologists, dedicated liver transplant coordinators, psychiatrists, and other members of the UPMC team collaborate closely on each case, from pre-transplant assessments through post-discharge follow-ups, to ensure the best possible outcomes.

Most LDLT patients have a full evaluation, undergo the transplant, make a full recovery, and travel back home within one month, none of which would be possible with deceased donor transplant.

For a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) about living-donor liver transplant, please visit the UPMC Liver Transplant website.

If you are interested in becoming a living donor for a loved one who is on the transplant waitlist, call our team of dedicated transplant coordinators at 1-877-640-6746.