Center for Advanced Liver Diseases and Transplantation at University Hospital is one of best in U.S. — and it’s right here in Newark

University Hospital officials are trying to get the word out: Patients do not need to go across the river when they are in need of a liver transplant.

They can just come to Newark.

The Center for Advanced Liver Diseases and Transplantation at University Hospital in Newark, under the guidance of skilled physicians from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, is the first such center in New Jersey and one of 61 centers nationally. Since it opened in 1989, the center has performed more than 1,650 liver transplant surgeries, including nearly 80 transplants in the last two years alone.

And the hospital isn’t resting on its laurels. It still actively engages in liver transplant research, contributing to advancements in the field and enhancing patient outcomes. Ongoing innovation, clinical trials and partnerships with organizations such as Organ Recovery Systems ensure patients receive the best and latest treatments available.

But, perhaps since it is housed in a busy, urban hospital, the Center for Advanced Liver Diseases has long flown under the radar. It shouldn’t.

Based on three-year survival, University Hospital’s liver transplant program ranks top in the Northeast, with a survival rate of 98.8%, according to data from the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients.

That means University Hospital doctors not only perform the procedure, they perform it better than their prestigious local counterparts and most others in the country.

University Hospital President Ed Jimenez said the organization is working to get the word out.

“Right now, only one-third of New Jersey residents elect to get a new liver in the state,” he said. “Over time, we hope New Jersey residents realize they don’t need to cross a river, use a bridge or get on a plane for a transplant.

“When it comes to survival rates, the best care in the Northeast is right here in Newark at University Hospital.”

Dr. James Guarrera, division chief, transplant and hepatobiliary surgery, said the hospital’s stellar success rate is a result of the efforts of its multidisciplinary team of nationally recognized surgeons and medical professionals who boast extensive experience.

“One of the cornerstones of our program at University Hospital has been the use of innovation and innovative techniques to allow patients to get transplanted with best outcomes, including for patients who might not otherwise had access to getting a liver transplant in other ways,” he said.

Sarah, a recent success story, found that out firsthand.

After enduring six months of medical uncertainty, emergency room visits and deteriorating health, Sarah’s gastroenterologist delivered a devastating prognosis — without a better program, she wasn’t going to make it. That day, the local mother of two was rushed to University Hospital. 

After her transfer on Memorial Day 2021, Sarah arrived at University Hospital in a critical state. Her condition plunged further, and she slipped into a 30-day coma. Against all odds, Sarah’s trajectory eventually took a remarkable turn for the better. In July of 2021, she received a liver transplant that not only saved her life, but transformed it.

“On July 10 of 2021, I received my liver transplant, or gift of life, as I like to call it,” she said. “I am very thankful and grateful to my donor and his family and especially to the doctors here at University Hospital who never gave up on me.

“I am impressed with their compassion, with their level of skills and knowledge.”

Guarrera said it’s all part of a team effort at University Hospital, one that prioritizes patient care and provides comprehensive support before, during and after liver transplant surgery.

All, right here in Newark.

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Reach University Hospital at: or call 973-972-4300.