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SG Potts
Journal Issue: 
Volume 39: Issue 4: 2009




Transplant  units  increasingly  recognise  a  need  for  assistance  from psychiatrists  and  psychologists  in  the  assessment  and  management  of  potential transplant  recipients  and  live  donors.  This  arises  from  the  various  known associations  between  mental  disorder  and  the  need  for  transplantation;  the intensifying  requirement  to  select  carefully  among  the  potential  recipients  and donors of scarce human organs; and the drive to maximise transplant outcomes by optimising all aspects of treatment after surgery. There is good evidence that careful,  protocol-guided  selection  among  potential  candidates  for  transplantation with alcoholic liver disease helps ensure outcomes at least as good as for other forms  of  liver  disease. The  evidence  base  in  other  areas  is  less  robust,  but  the principles  guiding  the  psychiatric  assessment  are  broadly  the  same. There  is  an increasing  need  for  psychiatric  assessment  of  potential  live  organ  donors,  in  order to minimise the risks they run, and in the case of altruistic donation this is now mandatory in UK law.