Liver Transplant

Life After Liver Transplant

Appointment New Patient Appointment or 214-645-8300

Tina's Story: A Race Against Time and Acute Liver Failure

For Tina Bartolucci, acute liver failure struck like a bolt of lightning from a clear blue sky. One minute she felt a little under the weather, the next she was fighting for her life. With time running out, Tina and her family turned to UT Southwestern for chance at survival and a roadmap to recovery.

It is important to recognize that a transplant is more than a single surgical event. A successful transplant is a group effort that requires a lifetime commitment by the patient to adhere to a healthy lifestyle and receive ongoing medical care.

For the rest of their lives, patients will need to:

  • Take anti-rejection medications
  • Have frequent medical checkups
  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Forego smoking, alcohol, and street drugs

The recovery period continues after leaving the hospital, and the transplant team will follow the patient’s progress closely throughout recovery. Patients traveling to Dallas from a significant distance should plan to stay near the hospital for two weeks after discharge. Our team can help provide information regarding discounted housing options for patients and their families. A family member or friend should stay with the patient because he or she might not be strong enough to stay alone and might need help with certain activities.

Patients will have some routine restrictions on daily activities for the first six to eight weeks. They’ll need to be monitored on a long-term basis and must agree to be available for exams, lab tests, and scans of the abdomen to see how the transplanted liver is doing. The transplant team will also see patients regularly for three to six months post-transplant, and the patient will be followed in the transplant clinic for life.

Transplant Support Group

The Transplant Support Group meets virtually on the 3rd Wednesday of each month from noon-1 p.m. for transplant patients and their families to share experiences. This group (led by a social worker) provides an emotionally supportive atmosphere in which attendees can assist each other in coping with the various issues that arise before and after transplantation. It also provides information on topics of special interest to transplant patients and their families. For example, the dietitian may conduct a group discussion on nutritional information.

For more information about the Transplant Support Group, contact Stacy Franz at 214-645-5505.