The liver transplantation program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham began in 1983. UAB is one of twenty programs in the United States that averages at or above 100 liver transplants per year. The program maintains robust clinical and basic science research efforts. Quality transplant care is provided to patients from Alabama and throughout the southeastern United States. UAB is the only transplant center within the Alabama Organ Center, which boasts a donation rate of 30 per million-population and a conversion rate of 81%, both of which are much higher than reported national averages.
As reported by the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (table 10), the UAB liver transplant program's one-year patient survival of 91% is higher than the expected outcome of 86%. The three-year patient survival of 87% at UAB is highly significantly greater than the expected level (p<0.01), and much higher than the US national average of 77.5%. The median time from listing to transplant is only 2.3 months at UAB, compared to a national median of 12.3 months.
Due to the wide geographic area served, UAB has a streamlined transplant evaluation process for the convenience of our patients. The UAB hospital and State of Alabama have initiatives to eliminate barriers to transplant access for minorities and economically disadvantaged patients. Patients are cared for by a multidisciplinary team with expertise in liver transplantation that includes surgeons, transplant hepatologists, liver transplant coordinators, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, and therapists. There are a wide range of sub-specialty services immediately available including interventional radiology, interventional endoscopy, transplant infectious disease to name a few. From the beginning of the evaluation process through the transplant operation and aftercare beyond, this dedicated team of professionals provides an outstanding level of care.
Liver transplants are performed in the new, state-of-the-art operating complex at UAB. Patients are initially cared for in the surgical intensive care unit. Liver transplant recipients are then transferred to the dedicated liver transplant ward that is continuously staffed by a dedicated transplant nursing team. Following discharge, out-of-town patients stay at the UAB Townhouse, a converted hotel that provides patients with a measure of independence, but also easy and convenient access to transplant aftercare during the early post-operative period. The liver transplant clinic is located in the Kirkland clinic, in close proximity to laboratory and radiology services.