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Liver Transplants

Why Choose University of Colorado Hospital for Your Liver Transplant?

Two liver transplant recipients

"Two miracles"

Watch the story about how a single donor liver saved two lives.

At University of Colorado Hospital, we have a strong foundation for our Liver Transplant Program.

The first liver transplant in the world was performed at our hospital in 1963 by world-renowned surgeon Thomas Starzl, MD.

In 1988 we created a formal Liver Transplant Program under the direction of Dr. Igal Kam.

Throughout the years, we have made significant technological and treatment advances that greatly increase the likelihood that liver transplant patients lead a normal life after transplant surgery.

  • Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR) data shows our Liver Transplant program has one of the highest one-year patient survival rates for centers performing 60+ liver transplants per year.
  • Our overall patient survival three years after transplantation is 85 percent.
  • The average hospital stay (from date of transplant to discharge) for a liver transplant is 12 days.
  • Our team has performed more than 1,500 liver transplants in adults and children between 1988-2010.
  • Since 1996, our team has performed more than 130 living-donor liver transplants.
  • University of Colorado Hospital has an entire floor dedicated to transplant patients. All patients receive medical care by a team of experts who are specifically trained to address transplant patients’ special needs.

What is a Liver Transplant?

A liver transplant may be the only option for someone with liver disease leading to liver failure.

There are two types of transplants. A cadaver transplant uses the liver of a brain-dead person. This is the most common type of liver transplant.

Living-donor transplants are the second type.

As its name suggests, the person who is donating his or her liver is alive. The donor is usually a relative or close friend who donates a portion of his/her liver to the person in need of the transplant.

Within about two months after living donor transplant surgery, both donor and recipient livers grow back to full size.

How to Make a Liver Transplant Appointment

To determine if you are a candidate for a liver transplant, you first need to be evaluated by a hepatologist.

Choose a Liver Transplant Doctor/Healthcare Provider

Departments that Support Liver Transplants

  • Hepatology
    Anschutz Medical Campus
    (720) 848-2245 or (800) 874-0089 (toll-free)
  • Transplant Center
    Anschutz Medical Campus
    (720) 848-0005

Patient Education - Liver Transplants

The transition from chronic illness to having a healthy transplanted liver calls for many psychological and social lifestyle changes. It is important for you to understand both the Liver Transplant Process and how to stay healthy after the transplant.

Monthly Patient Education Sessions

These sessions are held on the second Tuesday of each month, and feature a speaker from the Liver Transplant team. We focus on ongoing education, primarily for those on the waiting list and their families.

Interested patients must RSVP by calling Jenny Sanderson at (720) 848-0838 or by sending her an email.

Questions? Call Jenny at the number above, or Michael Talamantes at (720) 848-0839.

Getting a Second Opinion

A liver transplant is a major surgery. It is important to feel comfortable with both your doctors and the staff, as you will spend much time with them. University of Colorado Hospital is happy to offer a second opinion and to work with you if you choose to come to our hospital for your surgery.

Please contact the Hepatology department at (720) 848-2245 to schedule a second opinion consult.

Additional Liver Transplant Resources



"Winning the race of her life"

For Summer Hudish, a "dull stomach ache" that wouldn't go away led to an ER admission and a diagnosis of Wilson's disease, a rare hereditary disorder that damages the liver.

Three months after her liver transplant at University of Colorado Hospital, she was back running races.


Watch her story

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