ALTA is committed to help and provide advice through personal experience and give reassurance that support is available to all who are affected by liver disease.
ADDENBROOKE’S LIVER TRANSPLANT ASSOCIATION
WHAT WE DO
ALTA is a positive vehicle for encouraging more people to become donors to allow others in the future to receive the same precious gift, for which we all give thanks daily.
ALTA funds relaxation therapies for patients in hospital who are suffering from anxiety.
Produces a regular free newsletter and a website to keep members up to date with the latest news and developments.
Sponsors liver transplant patients who participate in the annual Transplant Games.
Membership is open to all liver transplant patients under the care of Addenbrooke's Hospital as well as to their families. There are no membership charges. Support and advice is always available.
Meet the Team
The current board of trustees of the Addenbrooke's Liver Transplant Association
Trustee & Support Team
Trustee & Support Team
Trustee & Support Team
Trustee & Support Team
Trustee & Southampton Outreach Support Team
Frequently asked Questions
Patients who are awaiting a transplant have many questions about the transplant process. If you have further questions not covered here, please do get in touch. Below are some of the questions we have been asked:
Yes. All patients will take immunosuppressant medications as these help prevent your immune system attacking the new organ. The likelihood is that you will take these for the rest of your life. There are a variety of different immunosuppressants and the doctors will decide which suit you best. In addition, there may be other tablets you need to take after your transplant including those for pain relief. All your medications will be reviewed at your regular clinic appointment and over time, the number of tablets will reduce as the Consultants fine tune the balance required specifically for you.
After your transplant you will be able to speak to a Dietician who can answer questions and help you understand how best to manage your diet post-transplant. Initially there will be some foods which you will need to avoid such as unpasteurised dairy products, raw fish and some fruits but these can be reintroduced after about 6 months. There are a few foods which will need to be avoided permanently as they interfere with the immunosuppressants. These are: grapefruit, pomegranate, pomelo and seville oranges (used in marmalade). Otherwise, the advice is to generally choose healthy foods alongside some regular exercise.
The Transplant Coordinator will be able to tell you the age and sex of your donor but no other information will be made available due to patient confidentiality. You do have the option to write to your donor’s family to thank them and this is encouraged if you feel able to do so. There are restrictions on what you can say with regard to not identifying yourself but, you can seek guidance on this from the Transplant Coordinators before you start your letter. In some instances you may receive a response from your donor family and, with mutual agreement, a line of communication can be opened.
In cases of severe liver disease, the liver isn’t able to do its normal job of removing waste products from the body and consequently toxins can be carried to the brain and have negative effects. Symptoms can range from minor lapses of memory, slurred speech, confusion and, in severe cases can cause unconsciousness. If you have liver disease and notice any symptoms like this, then you should speak to your Transplant Coordinator. Following a liver transplant, this issue usually resolves quickly.
Once on the transplant waiting list, the wait for a transplant can vary greatly from person to person and depends on a lot of different factors such as; how severe your liver condition is, how well you are and, how soon a liver that is suitable for you will become available. Whilst on the waiting list, you will have regular appointments with your Consultant to review your health.
This can vary from person to person but, the average length of stay in hospital after a liver transplant is usually about 2 to 3 weeks. It also depends on whether you have any other underlying illness, how well the new liver takes to settle down, and also to get the balance of your medication correct before going home.
Yes, you will need regular check-ups after your transplant. Initially, your clinic visits may be as frequent as once a week after being discharged from the hospital, reducing to once a month if all goes well. Once the Consultants recognise that your transplant and the prescribed drugs have settled, the appointments are usually at 3, 6 or 12-month intervals depending on your condition. Should you have any concerns you can contact the Transplant Coordinators via phone or email for an appointment prior to the arranged ones.
After transplant, the risk of getting skin cancer is increased due to the immunosuppressant medications. Therefore, it is recommended that you avoid being out during the midday sun, wear a hat and a long-sleeved top when out in the sun and, wear a sunscreen of Factor 50 in summer months and Factor 30 in winter months.
In the first 3 months after transplant, your dosage of immunosuppressants will be fairly high and it is advised to isolate as you will be susceptible to picking up viruses and illnesses from other people. As your transplant medications are reduced, you will be able to start going out more freely although it is advised to take care around people who are infectious as the immunosuppressant medications will always mean that you have an increased risk of becoming poorly yourself.
You will only be sent home when your Consultant feels that you are able to move well enough and that your recovery is going well. You may need help to lift heavy objects, to stretch to reach things and to help you with shopping. It is advised not to lift anything heavy in the first couple of months and to bring items close to your body before lifting them rather than stretching out your arm to lift them at a distance away from your body as this will put more strain on the area around your liver transplant and could potentially cause a hernia. Walking is encouraged after transplant and your Consultant and Transplant Coordinator will suggest you to take short walks each day as you feel comfortable to build up your muscles. You may want someone with you when you go out for a walk in the first few weeks as a support.
Generally, stitches are removed about 21 days after the transplant operation. This is done by either a district nurse, GP or in the hospital and patients generally find that it is not a painful procedure.
There are many insurance companies which will offer travel insurance for people with a pre-existing medical condition however, it will cost more than the usual average price for normal travel insurance. The insurance company will require you to answer a series of medical questions so they can offer you the right type of insurance. This often depends both on your medical condition as well as the countries you are travelling to. It is always really important to make sure you have the right type of insurance before you travel and you should always check with your Consultant that you are fit to travel. Even post-transplant it is worth checking with your Consultant particularly if you are travelling to remote areas where access to more advanced healthcare is not readily available.
You will also need to check what vaccinations are required for your destination, some vaccinations cannot be taken if you are on immunosuppressants. For example, after a transplant, you can’t ever have a live vaccine.
On all travel insurance, the prices can vary dramatically, so always get several quotes.
The British Liver Trust may be able to provide names of insurance companies who are more compassionate in relation to liver transplant patients seeking insurance.
It is always best to check with your GP, Transplant Coordinator or Consultant before taking any new medications (even herbal and natural medications) as they may interfere with your transplant medications. You may find that you also need to avoid certain antibiotics so always remind your GP of your medical history and the medications you take so they can always be well-informed to make the right choices for you.
Usually it is advised not to return to work until 3 months after your transplant operation, however, this very much depends on the individual, how quickly you recover and the type of work you do. It is always best to have a discussion with your Consultant before returning to work.
PLEASE NOTE! We are not able to answer personal questions about medication, medical procedures etc. These MUST be referred back to your Consultants or Transplant Coordinators. The Q&A section is merely for your guidance only. (E & OE).