Adult Liver Transplant
The University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) offers the largest liver transplant program in Maryland. Our outcomes are very good, with most patients returning to a normal lifestyle after transplant.
Our experience in complex treatments, such as transplant for bile duct cancer, is unmatched almost anywhere in the United States. We evaluate patients for transplant at our hospital in Baltimore, at our regional clinics and via e-visits for out-of-area patients.
At UMMC, we work together with you, your family and your other physicians, including surgeons and oncologists to provide comprehensive care. We use the most advanced tools and treatments to treat liver disease.
Highlights of our program include:
- Advanced surgical techniques: We use the latest surgical techniques and tools, including laparoscopic and robotic surgery. These treatments help you recover faster and allow us to complete highly specialized surgeries.
- Two-stage surgery to remove tumors: We provide staged hepatectomies for colorectal cancer liver metastases (cancer cells that have grown in the liver from a tumor originally in the colon.) Our surgeons can remove part of the tumor in a first surgery for some tumors that might have been judged inoperable. In a later surgery, we then remove the rest of the tumor. We also have other treatments available for patients when surgery is not an option.
- Aggressive efforts to shrink tumors: The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) has specific regulations for which tumor sizes can allow immediate transplantation. We have aggressive liver cancer treatments to shrink or eliminate tumors so that a patient can be eligible for a transplant.
- Partnerships to treat digestive diseases: We regularly treat patients at Mercy Medical Center’s Institute for Digestive Health and Liver Disease. We attend Mercy’s liver clinics regularly and see patients on an urgent basis as needed.
- Cancer surgery partnerships: We partner with cancer surgeons at University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center and at University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson. No matter what hospital is treating you, you have the same access to University of Maryland’s excellent surgical practices and research and clinical trials.
- Domino liver transplant: In a domino transplant, a deceased donor (Patient A) provides a new liver for a patient with familial amyloid polyneuropathy (FAP) (Patient B). Patient B donates a liver to Patient C, who tends to be in his or her 60s or 70s. Patient B is able to donate a liver with FAP because symptoms of FAP take decades to develop, making it unlikely it will develop during Patient C’s lifetime.
- Ongoing clinical trials: Patients can participate in clinical trials for primary liver cancer, as well as pancreas and colon cancer, which can spread to the liver.
Our experienced liver transplant specialists treat patients with all types of liver disease. We regularly care for patients who have been turned down elsewhere for transplant.
We transplant patients with conditions including:
- Cholangiocarcinoma: We are one of only a few programs that can transplant patients who have cholangiocarcinoma, or bile duct cancer. Watch as Dr. Steve Hanish explains how UMMC became the first hospital in Maryland to treat this disease with liver transplant.
- Cholestatic diseases: These conditions include primary biliary cirrhosis, sclerosing cholangitis, secondary biliary cirrhosis, biliary atresia and cystic fibrosis.
- Chronic hepatitis: This includes hepatitis B, hepatitis C, hepatitis D, autoimmune chronic active hepatitis, cryptogenic cirrhosis, chronic drug toxicity or toxin exposure.
- Alcoholic cirrhosis: We consider patients with alcoholic cirrhosis for transplant if they meet current criteria for abstinence and rehabilitation.
- Metabolic diseases: These may include hemochromatosis, Wilson's disease, Alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency, glycogen storage disease (Von Gierke disease), tyrosinemia, familial amyloidotic polyneuropathy and other metabolic disorders treatable by liver replacement.
- Fulminant acute hepatic necrosis (sudden liver failure): This includes viral hepatitis or liver failure due to drugs or other toxicities.
- Primary hepatic tumors: We treat some patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer).
We work with the University of Maryland Liver Center and our other transplant teams to help patients who have:
- Pulmonary hypertension: High blood pressure in the arteries in the lungs. Learn more about pulmonary hypertension.
- Portal and mesenteric venous thrombosis: Blood clots in the vessels leading to the liver
- Combined transplants: Including kidney transplant, pancreas transplant, heart transplant or lung transplant
If your doctor refers you to UMMC, we will evaluate you individually to decide if a liver transplant might help you.
We understand that time is valuable when you are facing serious liver disease. We work hard to complete your evaluation in one day, so you can focus on your health.
At UMMC, liver transplant patients having an evaluation will:
- Usually receive an evaluation appointment within 2 weeks
- See all medical providers in a single day, including your physician, hepatologist (physician specializing in liver conditions), social worker, nutritionist and transplant coordinators
- Complete lab work in 1 day
- Finish the evaluation day in 4 hours at the hospital, instead of 12 hours or more, like many other transplant programs
- Meet with the surgeons who will perform your operation
- If approved, be ready to receive organ offers about 30 days from your initial evaluation
Learn more about what to expect:
If you have had a liver transplant at UMMC or are on the liver transplant waiting list at UMMC, we invite you to join our liver transplant community on Facebook and share your journey with other patients.
To schedule a conversation with the liver team, please call 410-328-3444.
For Referring Physicians
To refer a patient or get more information, please call 1-800-373-4111. A physician service representative from Consultation and Referral Services will direct your call to the appropriate physician or department.
For more details, please visit our section for referring physicians.