Evaluation and Waiting


Candidates for liver transplantation undergo thorough medical and psychiatric evaluations. Medical tests may include:

  • blood tests,
  • heart tests,
  • lung evaluations,
  • liver biopsy,
  • and more.

Imaging testing may include:

  • chest x-ray to determine the health of the lungs;
  • ultrasound to examine the liver, abdominal organs, and blood vessels;
  • CT scan of the liver;
  • MRI of the abdominal organs and blood vessels;
  • endoscopy to assess ulcers or inflammation in the esophagus and stomach;
  • ERCP (Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography) to view the bile ducts;
  • Liver angiogram.


It is vital that all potential transplant recipients have support systems in place to help them throughout the process. A psychosocial team evaluates potential candidates and their families or support teams, and assists patients with psychosocial needs. Social support services are available to patients and their loved ones to help them cope with the many issues that arise during the transplantation process.

The Center strongly recommends that patients take advantage of its educational resources, support groups, and other services, because patients and families both benefit greatly from the information and support they provide.

Substance abuse screenings may be conducted at random during this process; use of alcohol or illicit drugs will render patients ineligible for liver transplantation.


During the evaluation period the Center's financial counselors meet with patients to verify that their insurance will cover the cost of liver transplantation, including post-operative medications. If insurance coverage is insufficient, the Center's counselor and social worker assist patients in finding alternative solutions.

Waiting Period

The length of the waiting period for liver transplantation varies depending on the type of transplant to be performed, severity of illness, and other factors. During this challenging period, it is important for patients to:

  • maintain their physical and emotional health
  • maintain close contact with the transplant team
  • be prepared to travel to the hospital at a moment's notice when a donor organ becomes available.


Columbia University Medical Center

Center for Liver Disease and Transplantation
Phone: 877-LIVER-MD (877-548-3763)

Weill Cornell Medical Center

Center for Liver Disease and Transplantation
Phone: 646-962-LIVER (646-962-5483)


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