Liver transplantation has evolved into an accepted therapy for those with end-stage liver disease. Since the late 1960s when Dr, Thomas Starzl pioneered the first successful human liver transplantation, it has become a surgical specialty requiring a multidisciplinary approach. Currently, more than 11,000 patients are awaiting liver transplantation. The donor shortage has led to development of techniques for reduction in size of liver grafts, split liver grafts, and living related grafts. Despite these developments, more than 1,000 patients died in 1997 while awaiting transplantation. The increasing demand has led to maximal use of potential organ donors. The complexity of problems and complications that arise during the waiting period and after the transplantation require continued and diligent care. The nurse is an integral part of the transplantation team and can provide ongoing assessment and education throughout the transplantation process to facilitate the patient’s return to an independent lifestyle.

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