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Central Virginia VA Health Care System partners with Hume-Lee Transplant Center to become the second VA to offer living liver donations in the country

Partnership means more transplants, shorter wait for lifesaving procedure

Three soldiers saluting behind American flag

RICHMOND, Va. (Nov. 11, 2022) — The Central Virginia VA Health Care System (CVHCS), in partnership with VCU Health’s Hume-Lee Transplant Center, has become the second VA in the country to provide living liver donor transplants to veterans.

“We are thrilled to be able to offer this type of transplantation to our veterans,” said Dr. David Bruno, vice chair of clinical operations for the transplant division at Hume-Lee. “Being able to provide living liver transplants means shorter wait times, faster recovery and better outcomes for veterans who served our country.”

Living donation is the transferring of an organ from a living person to someone in need of a transplant. The previous agreement between Hume-Lee Transplant Center and CVHCS allowed for deceased liver transplants. The expansion to include living liver transplants increases the donor pool for transplant patients, which can often be the difference between life and death.

Currently, the national organ waitlist is over 100,000 people and on average, VA receives over 3,500 referrals for transplants each year. During the previous fiscal year, the VA completed 112 liver transplants. CVHCS, in collaboration with Hume-Lee, completed 33 of those transplants. With the inclusion of living liver transplants, the center is expecting an increase of referrals from veterans around the country.

“Our veterans truly served and sacrificed for our country,” said HoChong Gilles, clinical program director for gastroenterology hepatology and liver transplant for CVHCS. “It's really nice that there's a way for people to give back to the veterans with the gift of life through living liver donations.”

Hume-Lee Transplant Center and CVHCS have a long-standing partnership. Virginia Commonwealth University is the formal academic affiliate of CVHCS with shared training programs and faculty. The transplant partnership first began in 1999.

“We're very fortunate to be affiliated with a prestigious university that has great outcomes and a very successful living donor program,” Gilles said. “It was easy to justify this program expansion because of the expertise at Virginia Commonwealth University. We are proud to become the second VA transplant center that offers living donors in the entire country for veterans within the VA system.”