An Introduction to Liver Transplant Compatibility

For more than 25 years, Dr. Lewis Teperman has worked as director of transplant surgery at the New York University School of Medicine. Lewis Teperman also serves as vice chair of surgery. Over the years, Dr. Lewis Teperman has helped guide patients through the many steps required for successful kidney and liver transplant operations.

Donating a liver to a person who will greatly suffer, or die, without a new liver can be a highly rewarding experience. However, the process of matching an in-need patient with a compatible donor is complex, and even a perfectly matched patient and donor can run into complications. There are a few basic steps a surgeon and his or her medical staff will perform in order to gauge the likelihood of a successful liver transplant. First and foremost, the patient and donor must share the same blood type. A donated liver can be rejected by the host body for any number of reasons, some of them unclear, though a liver with an incompatible blood type has no chance of being accepted.

A donor’s liver must, of course, be healthy enough to survive the transplant and subsequently perform the vital processes of expunging toxins from the body and preparing vitamins and nutrients for use by other organs. This means a donor must be free of liver disease as well as related issues, including hepatitis, cardiovascular disease, and pulmonary disease. A donor should also be in generally good shape, meaning they could not qualify as obese or be engaged in any substance abuse, be it alcohol, prescription medicine, or illegal narcotics.