What to do while waiting for your liver transplant

PDF download is not available for Arabic and Urdu languages at this time. Please use the browser print function instead.

Teen boy holding cell phone to his ear

Is there anything I need to do while I wait for a transplant?

Help your transplant team reach you

When you go on a deceased donor transplant list, your transplant team must be able to contact you and your parents at any time of the day or night.

  • If you are going out with friends, have a cell phone with you and keep it charged or give a number where your parents can reach you.
  • If you are sleeping over at a friend’s house, make sure your parents can call you at any time and know how to get to the address if they need to bring you to the hospital for surgery.
  • Write down all telephone numbers of the places where you usually spend your time and give them to your transplant team. Include the home (landline) numbers of friends and relatives in case your cell phone battery runs out.
  • If you are planning on going out of town for the weekend or longer, make sure your transplant team has all your contact information. You should also have a plan for getting to the hospital if you are called for your surgery.
  • Your family should plan vacations only to places that are within four or five hours’ drive of your transplant hospital. If you travel further, there is a chance that you could miss the opportunity to get a liver if you are called while you are away. As well as planning vacations closer to home, always have a plan to get to the hospital if you need to.

Stay in contact with your transplant team

Call your transplant team if:

  • you are admitted to another hospital for any reason
  • you have any infections with a fever
  • your medical condition changes in any other way
  • you need any vaccinations (so your team can first confirm if you should receive them).

Keep dental appointments

Visit your dentist regularly. This will allow your dentist to treat any infection or source of infection (such as cavities).

Organize any important vaccinations

Keep your vaccinations up to date. If you are missing any specific vaccinations,  talk to your transplant team before you get them. This is especially important if you are considering getting a live vaccine while waiting for a transplant.

Start packing a bag to bring to the hospital

Because nobody can predict when you will be called in for a deceased donor transplant, it's a good idea to use your waiting time to gather the things you need to bring to the hospital​.

How long will it be before I get a transplant?

Teen boy resting head against a wall

Everyone’s wait time for a suitable organ is different. Your wait time depends on the liver transplant waiting list on your disease and how well you are feeling from day to day.

Factors that affect wait times for a transplant

Different things can affect how long you might need to wait for your transplant. These include:

  • the severity of your liver disease
  • your blood group
  • your weight and height
  • whether you get an infection while you are on the wait list
  • whether you get any live vaccines
  • any other changes in your overall health.

Last updated: November 30th 2017