​Our Liver Transplant Program

A transplant is commonly considered when the liver can no longer function properly, and liver failure has been diagnosed, or for liver cancer. Liver failure can be caused by a chronic medical condition called “cirrhosis”, or sudden failure can occur following an infection, a complication from medication, or a number of other reasons.

The liver plays many vital roles in your body, including filtering blood and aiding the digestion of nutrients. If liver failure does occur, and no other treatment options are possible, a transplant is necessary.

Our Liver Transplant Program at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is the only liver transplant center in the UAE. It was the first in the UAE to carry out a living donor liver transplant and the first to carry out a deceased donor liver transplant. We work very closely with the Cleveland Clinic Transplant Center in the US, one of the largest and most successful liver transplant programs in the world.

When is a transplant needed?​

A liver transplant is commonly considered in patients who have irreversible liver failure, when no other treatment options are available, or for liver cancer. Conditions that may eventually require a liver transplant include:

  • Acute liver failure
  • Cholangiocarcinoma (bile duct cancer) under selected circumstances
  • Cirrhosis or end-stage liver disease from various causes, including:
    • Non-alcoholic Fatty liver disease​
    • Chronic Viral Hepatitis
    • Autoimmune Hepatitis
    • Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis
    • Alcohol cirrhosis
    • Biliary cirrhosis (primary or secondary)
    • Wilson’s Disease
    • Hemochromatosis
    • Alpha I Antitrypsin Deficiency​
  • ​Hepatic vein thrombosis (Budd-Chiari Syndrome)
  • Hepatocellular Carcinoma (Liver Cancer)
  • Inborn errors of metabolism including:
    • Alpha-I antitrypsin
    • Crigler-Najjar syndrome, Type I
    • Glycogen storage disease, Type I
    • Wilson's disease
    • Hemochromatosis
    • Hereditary tyrosinemia type 1
    • Familial amyloidotic polyneuropathy
    • Primary hyperoxaluria type 1
  • Miscellaneous: Neuroendocrine tumors with liver metastases (under selected circumstances)

Treatment and Procedures

When a liver transplant is needed, the transplant team will review your medical history and carry out a wide range of tests to evaluate your individual case. From the early stages, to surgery and during the extended aftercare, our experienced team offers expert compassionate care and support. Treatment stages include:

  • Pre-transplant evaluation including imaging and blood tests among others
  • Transplant surgery and perioperative management of liver transplant patients
  • Post-liver transplant follow-up: including management of immunosuppressive medications, 
  • Ongoing health maintenance and screening after transplantation

Liver Transplant Program Caregivers

As a candidate for a liver transplant, you will receive care from an experienced and specialized team. Caregivers from a number of specialties will work together to make sure the best possible outcome is achieved. From the surgeons performing the transplant, to the counselors offering support post-surgery, our multidisciplinary approach ensures you receive cutting-edge treatment and compassionate care. Caregivers may include:

  • Anesthesiologists
  • Liver specialist (hepatologist)
  • Nutritionists
  • Pharmacists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Social/support workers
  • Transplant coordinator, usually a registered nurse
  • Transplant surgeons


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