7 Stages of the Liver Transplant Process

Below are the 7 stages of liver transplantation process experienced by most people who go through the liver transplant process. The stages come from my researched and are published in the journal Occupational Therapy in Health Care (P. J. Scott, 2011)These seven stages center on how psychological, physical and physiological factors impact emotional and cognitive functioning and how these factors interact with attitudes of others. Many factors are addressed with a focus on:

  • The impact of liver failure, and the waiting time on you and your relationships with your loved ones;
  • Strategies to be pro-active and maintain emotional and physical  strength such that you will experience less problems with the transplant process;
  • Ways to maintain involvement in valued activities and roles; and
  • Finding a comfortable fit between the previously sick you—and the newly transplanted you.

A couple of comments about the 7 stages of the liver transplantation process:  

Everyone experiences them differently, many people go back and forth. For example, you can be listed for a liver transplant and then be removed because your disease status changed. Some people experience fulminate liver failure, which means the liver fails quickly and they receive a transplant before they have time to prepare. I know a young woman who went into labor with twins, and woke up 1500 miles away in a strange hospital with a liver transplant–and no twins –they were back at her home hospital. The process of waiting for, receiving, and recovering from a liver transplant can completely disrupt your life! It is my hope the information here will help you to prepare and handle the challenges that you may face.

Others experience the statges differently. Here are some examples based on the experience of some people I know.

The details about each Stage are linked here’

Stage 1. Decline in Health

Stage 2. Liver failure

Stage 3. Referral for Liver Transplantation

Stage 4. Waiting for the transplant

Stage 5. The Liver Transplant Surgery and post- surgical recovery

Stage 6. Recovery

Stage 7. Return of Health