The liver is the largest solid organ in the body. It detoxifies, protects and provides nutrients for all cells in the body, and performs around 500 functions to keep the body healthy. When the liver is diseased and unable to function patients can become extremely unwell, leading to gradual failure of other organs. Liver transplantation is the replacement of a diseased liver with either all or part of a healthy liver from a donor.
The Leeds Liver Unit offers services in all aspects of liver transplantation from assessment through to long-term post-transplant care. It is one of 6 centres in England commissioned by NHS-England. The first liver transplant in Leeds was carried out by Professor Geoffrey Giles in 1986. The program has grown since then and is now the 3rd largest in the UK. Our centre serves patients from across the North of England, and works closely with our referring hospital teams.
In 2007 we became the first liver transplant program to provide live donor transplantation for NHS patients.
The transplant team is multi-disciplinary, and includes hepatologists, transplant surgeons and anaesthetists as well as other professionals such as our ward nursing team, liver transplant co-ordinators, dieticians, pharmacists, specialist nurses in alcohol and substance misuse, physiotherapists, social worker and many others, including our administrative teams. As a teaching hospital and specialised unit we have an important role in teaching medical students, and training doctors at all stages in specialist aspects of liver transplant medicine and surgery. The team holds a large multidisciplinary meeting each week.
We are a member of the Northern Liver Alliance, a partnership between the Leeds Liver Unit and the transplant programs in Newcastle and the Scottish Liver Unit in Edinburgh, for the benefit of our patients.
The unit works collaboratively with several organisations including NHS Blood and Transplant, our regulatory body, and complies with nationally agreed standards for assessment and registration of patients on the liver transplant waiting list.
The St James Liver Transplant Support Group provides support for patients and their relatives or carers — click here for more information.