Surprisingly, having somebody else's major abdominal organ is well tolerated. The one year survival for these people is in excess of 90%.
TSANZ (The Transplantation Society of Australia and New Zealand) has an online liver protocol (last updated in 2007) which renders transparent the complex process of recipient selection.
The most commonly used criteria for transplantation in the acute settings are the King's College criteria, for all their flaws.
According to Oh's Manual,
"Listing requires a multidisciplinary consensus of a 50% chance of 5-year survival once all risks are considered."
The MELD score is used to assess the urgency of transplantation as well as the likelihood of post-transplant survival. The other single most important parameter is cardiovascular health - one must be fit enough to survive the procedure. Cardiovascular complications are the most important extrahepatic cause of death in the liver transplant recipient.
Thus, there are several absolute contraindications:
Absolute contraindications to liver transplantation:
Then, there are also a few relative contraindications:
Relative contraindications to liver transplantation: