Frequently Asked Questions

Patients having being diagnosed with liver problems and possibly recommended for a transplant

have many questions about the transplant process, below are listed some of the more common questions that are usually asked.


PLEASE NOTE ! We are not able to answer personal questions about medication, medical procedures etc; these MUST be referred back to your consultants. The Q. A .section below, is not expressed or endorsed by ALTA - it is merely for your guidance only. (E &E O).


Q . What is a liver transplant?

A . A liver transplant is a surgical procedure to remove a diseased liver and replace it with a healthy liver from a donor. Most liver transplant operations use livers from deceased donors.


Q. Will I need to take medication after a transplant?.

A. You will be taking a number of medications after your liver transplant, many for the rest of your life. Drugs called immunosuppressants help keep your immune system from attacking your new liver.


Q. Can I go on holiday abroad after a transplant?

A Yes you can holiday abroad, but it is always advisable to contact the liver unit to confirm that you are ok to travel and to advise on unsafe destinations that are unable to give medical assistance to transplanted patients. Some companies may request written confirmation that you are fit to travel. If you need a vaccination for your holidays, some vaccinations cannot be given after having a transplant. Please see section in main menu under vaccinations.


Q Can I eat what I want after a transplant?

A Generally speaking you can but you will be advised by the Hospital Dietician on those foods to be avoided as well as those which form a healthy diet. The only thing you have to be made aware of is Grapefruit or Grapefruit juice. This is not allowed to be taken as it can reduce the effectiveness of your immunosuppressive drugs.


Q Can I find out where my liver came from and about my donor?

A Yes, this can only be done through the Transplant Co-ordinators, although certain things will not be made available due to patient confidentiality.


Q Do patients get confused with liver disease?

A With severe disease, the liver cannot remove waste products and these can be carried to the brain. Symptoms can range from minor lapses of memory, slurred speech or confusion and in severe cases can cause unconsciousness.


Q Is cirrhosis only caused by alcohol abuse?

A No. It is a popular misconception that cirrhosis only affects people who drink too much alcohol over the years. In fact there are many children with liver disorders. However, alcohol abuse is a common contributory factor - a fact that is always well-publicised.


Q How long will I have to wait for my transplant?

A This is a difficult question to answer. It depends on how severe your liver condition is and other factors, and dependent on your condition how soon a liver will become available.


Q How long will I be in hospital?

A Again this is a difficult question to answer, the average length of stay in hospital after a liver transplant is usually about 2 to 3 weeks. A lot depends if you have any other underlying illness and how well the new liver takes to settle down, and also to get the balance of your medication correct.


Q Do people with liver disease have difficulty obtaining travel/medical insurance?

A This can be a problem during liver illness and indeed after you have had a transplant. Do not take the risk and travel without any insurance cover. Check with your consultant to see if you are fit to travel. This is always a worthwhile thing to do, even after a few years post-transplant. The prices can vary quite drastically, so always get several quotes.

There are companies listed in the main menu under travel insurance. PLEASE NOTE: These are not endorsed by ALTA nor do they have any connection with us. They are there purely as a guide for you, as a lot of them specialise in insuring people with medical conditions.


Q Will I need constant checkups after a transplant?

A Yes, you will need regular checkups after your transplant. As a general rule, immediately after the transplant your visits will be very frequent, then later on usually at 3, 6, or 12-monthly intervals depending on your condition.