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Virtual liver transplant assessment: a novel pathway that is likely safe, effective and optimises access to transplantation
  1. Agimol Pradeep1,
  2. Faye Barker1,
  3. Katie Ramos2,
  4. Wendy Littlejohn1,
  5. Oliver D Tavabie1,
  6. Chris Nicholson1,
  7. Krish Menon3,
  8. Matthew E Cramp2,
  9. Neil McDougall4,
  10. Johnny Cash4,
  11. Varuna R Aluvihare1
  1. 1Institute of Liver Studies, King's College Hospital, London, UK
  2. 2South West Liver Unit, Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, Plymouth, UK
  3. 3Institute of Liver Studies, King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
  4. 4The Liver Unit, Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, UK
  1. Correspondence to Varuna R Aluvihare, Institute of Liver Studies, King's College Hospital, London, UK; varuna.aluvihare{at}

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Liver transplantation (LT) is a life-saving treatment for patients with end-stage chronic liver disease. Given the negative impact of distance from transplant centre on patient outcomes,1 2 King’s College Hospital (KCH) developed a network of satellite liver transplant centres (SLTCs) in Plymouth and Belfast to optimise access to LT.3 These centres deliver transplant assessment and comparable post-LT care to conventional LT centres.4 However, patients are still required to complete their assessments at KCH prior to listing.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented strain on health services globally. The UK LT programme was affected with transplantation and assessment occurring only in patients with urgent need.5 However, patients at SLTCs were also subject to travel restrictions which further disadvantaged them compared with local patients. A virtual transplant assessment (VTA) pathway was developed to allow SLTCs to assess their patients for LT locally and to discuss listing without attendance at KCH. Here, we describe our first experiences with this novel pathway.

We retrospectively included all patients from both SLTCs who completed an LT assessment between April 2020 and April 2021. The decision for a VTA was made by consensus decision from the …

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  • Contributors All authors contributed to conceptualisation and design. Data collection was performed by AP, FB, KR and WL. Data analysis and interpretation were performed by ODT. The manuscript was drafted by AP, FB and VRA. All authors made critical revisions and approved the final version of the manuscript

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.