History

The Liver Transplant Programme in Ireland was launched in January 1993, with the official opening of the Liver Unit in October 1993 by Brendan Howlin, then Minister for Health. The development of the programme in Ireland was phased over several years and included an initial two-year liaison with King's College Hospital in London, who already had a fully developed programme in Liver Transplantation. During this period, all members of the future Irish Transplant Team - medical, nursing and paramedical - spent time training in liver transplantation at King's College Hospital. The links with Kings College Hospital have been maintained over the years to provide a second opinion for complex cases.

The National Liver Transplant Programme completed its fourteenth year of operation at St. Vincent's Hospital in January 2007. At that point 519 transplants had been performed in 445 patients, with success rates very much in keeping with the best results achieved in UK and European centres.

The continued success of the liver transplant programme has resulted in ever increasing numbers of patients being referred to St. Vincent's Hospital for assessment of liver disease. The comprehensive multidisciplinary approach to liver disease, which is employed in this hospital, has resulted in an increased rate of referral of patients for consideration for liver transplantation.