British Liver Trust

Does anyone know at what age they now stop considering a transplant option?


I am not at transplant stage yet but told I will be in a few years if not before. I am 67 so if it is still a 70 age limit I might not have a chance. I have cirhossis from PBC and classified lately at stage 2 of actual cirrhosis after a varise bleed. I live in the UK.

Thanks for any help.

6 Replies

I don't think it is a hard and fast age limit - each person is assessed on an individual basis. There was chap over 70 being assessed at same time as my hubby was at Edinburgh.

The Scottish Liver Transplant unit clinical protocols state:- "Advanced age is a relative contraindication to transplant, and in such patients particular attention should be paid to an overall assessement of their general health". & other centres will probably follow similar guidelines.

Some 70+ years olds are really fit mentally and physically so it would be wrong to write them all off en-mass.


I was told by my liver Doctor last month that it was 65.


Deffo not 65, we've had older posters than that on here who have had transplant after 65. Only transplant unit will tell you the actual age and it depends on your overall health and fitness levels, each person is assessed on an individual basis. As I said there was a chap being assessed aged 71/72 at the same time as my hubby was in 2014.


Yes I think its 70ish...perhaps it will change as older people are often quite young nowadays !



Hello bobbycat

My personal view is that its probably best if you can stop worrying about whether or not you will be too old to have a transplant if and when the time arrives for that to be seriously considered as an option. It is only creating additional concern and worry for you. Live for the now because after all it could turn out that you will not ever need a transplant at all and from what i have read on this site in the past; transplants are not right for every one and do not allways make things better.

If its of any interest to you, I was diagnosed with AIH bordering on cirrhosis at about age 70 years. After about 18 months the cirrhosis became decompensated by ascites and varices. At that stage I did think it was the end of the road for me particulary when I lost a large amount of muscle mass and about 4 stone in weight (had to buy a complete new wardrobe of smaller size clothing ) as well as my sense of taste . Concurrently there was the constant itching of the skin which also bled volumes at the slightest touch., the abdomen became bloated with build up of ascites causing breathlessness alongside general lethargy and fatigue

My liver doctor raised the matter of liver transplant ( I understand that is part of the protocol when cirrhosis becomes decompensated) but when I questioned whether this was a realistic option given my then age I was told it probably wasn't. There is no upper age mentioned in the transplant guidelines (possibly by deliberate design to avoid allegations of ageism ) but apparently the general consensus amongst clinicians is that age 70 should asa general rule be regarded as the cut off with only exceptional cases considerered thereafter. The main concern seems to be that after about age 70 a patient may be less likely to handle the trauma of the transplant operation itself and recovery from it.

Fortunately my liver doctor was supportive expressing his view I should continue gentle physical exercise within the parameters my condition would allow and at same time if we worked together at getting the underlying cause of the cirrhosis under control (i.e. the AIH) that could delay any advancement of the cirrhosis to the extent that a transplant would no longerbe a consideration. With frequent monitoring and adjustments of medications together with a high protein diet I found that slowly the muscle mass returned, the ascites reduced to minimal levels eliminating the problems with breathing, the skin itching vitually disappeared and my taste returned almost to normal.

Now nearly 10 years later at almost age 80 very few people believe I have cirrhosis. Yes i do still have a skin that bleeds very easily as well as a little bit of ascites in my abdomen and still take numerous medications including fairly high dose diuretics that sometime cause problems with tryclicerate levels but he ho on the plus I am leading a near normal and very physically active lifestyle,my liver function blood levels and blood pressure are within normal ranges and apart from the periodic abdominal ultrasound scans and gastroscopies that I undergo, the monitoring by the actual liver doctor is minimal. Nowadays that monitoring is by way of a cirrhosis clinic telephone appointment conducted by a cirrhosis specialist nurse.

So for me everything has turned out for the best despite that initial feeling of hopelessness and despair when I first heard that if my liver disease reached the transplant as the final option stage I might be denied it on account of my age.

To summarise what my message to you is; do not burden yourself with the additional worry about something that may never arise. You already have enough to cope with .If you are as fortunate as I have been then the question of a transplant will be yesterday's story.

Good luck and best wishes



Thank you so much, this has helped me a lot. You sound very positive. I think it was the bleed that scared me of the future and what it could hold. I see my consultant every six months normally and my GP is not very up on it all but I know that some exercise helps me. I am low in iron and haemoglobin is low..I asked not to take iron tablets as they really upset my stomach and try now to eat an iron enriched diet. Platelets are low as I had a transfusion but it doesnt seem to be a concern to the Consultant. I was always slim but now am thin and muscles are wasting in my arms but not too bad elsewhere. I also eat protein regularly. Thanks again, its good to hear from you.


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