April is National Donate Life month, and today is National Donate Life Blue and Green Day. According to Donate Life America, National Donate Life Blue and Green Day is an initiative to register new organ, eye and tissue donors. Although not everyone with hepatitis C will need a liver transplant, this issue is important to us all.

In 1963, the first human liver transplant was attempted in Denver, Colorado by a team headed by Thomas Starzl, MD. Four years later, the procedure was performed successfully. Survival rates have been steadily improving, particularly with the introduction of anti-rejection medications.  The five-year survival rate is roughly 75%.

The most common reason for liver transplantation in the U.S. is chronic hepatitis C virus There are more than 16, 000 people on the liver transplant list. Due to a shortage of donated organs, some people will die before receiving a life-saving transplant.  

Most liver transplants use organs from deceased donors. However, the liver’s remarkable ability to regenerate allows us to use partial livers from living donors. Donating a liver is risky to the living donor, and not something to be entered into lightly. Organs from people with hepatitis C antibody may be potential candidates for transplantation.

To learn more, visit Donate Life