It is very important to have regular laboratory tests following a liver transplant. If you are not from the Westchester area, you will need to choose a laboratory near your home where you will have necessary blood tests when you are discharged. This may be in a hospital, a free-standing lab, or your doctor's office. If you are not sure where to go for liver lab tests, ask your coordinator for recommendations. Also remember to check with your insurance provider as it may be necessary for you to use a particular laboratory.
The lab tests will help your doctors monitor and evaluate your liver function. When you are discharged from clinic (out-of-town patients), your transplant coordinator will meet with you and give you a lab schedule to follow. Call your coordinator the day after the first set of lab tests at home to assure that they were received. The liver lab test results should be faxed to our office at (914) 493-1097.
The results may be sent by mail after the first two weeks at home. However, the lab test results are received and reviewed more quickly if faxed or phoned to our office. Either your laboratory staff, or your doctor's office staff can relay the results to us. Ask your coordinator when the frequency of having laboratory tests for liver can be decreased. You will have lab tests once or twice a week for several weeks after discharge, depending on your condition. The frequency of testing is decreased with time if your liver functions are stable and the immunosuppressants have not been changed. Your doctor may ask for more frequent blood tests (weekly for 2 or 3 weeks) if your immunosuppression has been changed. After one year, you may need to have blood tests alone once a month.
This is for the rest of your life! These tests may be drawn and processed at your local laboratory or hospital and results can be sent to coordinator. Your Prograf (Tacrolimus/FK506) or Neoral (Cyclosporine) blood sample can be drawn at your local lab, if they are able to process the specimen and send the results to your coordinator. The liver laboratory tests listed above are very sensitive to early changes and can signal liver transplant rejection long before you feel ill.
The laboratory tests that will need to be performed routinely include:
- Complete blood count
- Sodium, potassium
- BUN, creatinine
- Total bilirubin
- ALT (SGPT)
- AST (SGOT)