Liver Transplant

Barnes-Jewish Hospital has the only comprehensive transplant center in the region offering heart, heart/lung, lung, double lung, kidney, liver, pancreas islet and bone marrow transplants. In addition to achieving outcomes that meet or exceed national averages, the transplant program is known for quality and continuity of care. The liver transplant program is growing into one of the strongest in the country.

In 1985, Barnes-Jewish Hospital became the 16th hospital in the world with a dedicated liver transplant program and the first in Missouri to perform a successful liver transplant. Since then, the hospital has continued to be a world leader in liver transplantation and the management of end stage liver and hepatobiliary diseases including liver cancer and bile duct cancer.

With some of the best survival rates, Washington University transplant specialists have performed more than 1,200 adult liver transplants since the program’s inception. The gastroenterology program ranks among the top programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

Liver transplantation is mainly used for primary liver tumors, a small percentage of liver tumors. Most are metastasized from other organs. Eligible patients with the common kind of liver cancer can be accepted on the liver transplantation list if they have a single tumor that is kept below 5 centimeters (about 2 inches) in diameter or three tumors less than 3 centimeters in diameter. Larger or more tumors may become eligible after treatment.

During transplant, the whole liver is removed and replaced with a healthy donor liver. The cancer must be confined to the liver. While on the waiting list for a new liver, other treatment may be done.