Some additional information and resources on liver transplants: A liver is necessary to fight infections, break down harmful substances like alcohol and other toxic chemicals...

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Some additional information and resources on liver transplants:

A liver is necessary to fight infections, break down harmful substances like alcohol and other toxic chemicals, build chemicals your body needs to stay healthy, remove waste products from your blood and store nutrients.

While a normal liver can regenerate, if it develops cirrhosis (scarring) from alcohol or disease such as hepatitis C, cells die permanently. Nationwide, there are more than 17,000 people waiting for liver transplants, including more than 120 in Washington state. Last year, more than 2,300 people died while they were on a transplant waiting list or because they were too sick to qualify for a transplant.

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How long patients have to wait for a liver varies. A donor liver has to match the recipient in blood type, tissue type and size. Additional factors include the medical condition of the patient and time on the waiting list. In Washington state, of the people on the waiting list, 66 have been waiting more than a year. For people with the “universal” type O blood, like Jack Slater, the typical wait is longer, because type O donor livers can be used for all blood types.

According to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), patients with hepatitis C who get a liver transplant have nearly an 85 percent chance of surviving a year and a 67 percent chance of surviving five years.


For more information


• The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS): www.unos.org

• The Living Legacy Registry (register to be an organ donor): www.livinglegacyregistry.org

• The American Liver Foundation: www.liverfoundation.org or 800-465-4837.

• The Hepatitis Foundation International: www.hepfi.org or 800-891-0707 or 301-622-4200.

For information about organ donation: Lifecenter Northwest, www.lcnw.org. You can also e-mail info@lcnw.org, or call 877-ASK-LCNW.

Sources: National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC), Centers for Disease Control’s National Center for Infectious Diseases, United Network for Organ Sharing, University of Washington Medical Center-Division of Transplantation.

Carol M. Ostrom: 206-464-2249 or costrom@seattletimes.com