Introduction:

The BLTG (British Liver Transplant Group) was launched in 2014 to represent the professional interests of liver transplantation in the UK and promote strategic and academic development.

The BLTG will foster close relationships with BTS (British Transplant Society) and LICAGE (Liver Intensive Care Group of Europe) and will build on the role of the UK and Ireland Annual Meeting by delivering structure and authority to the group.

BLTG Transplant Meetings

The annual BLTG meeting will integrate the meetings previously organised by each individual transplant centre but will extend to the many individuals working outwith liver transplant centres with an interest in liver transplantation. The meeting will offer a platform for those operating in or with a strong interest in the field of liver transplantation. The BLTG Transplant meeting will be linked to the BASL Annual Meeting and will be aligned to the Liver Transplant Symposium and Williams-Calne Lecture within that programme. The winner of the Andy Burroughs Young Investigator Award will also deliver their prize lecture during the BTLG meeting. The BASL BLTG School of Transplantation offers an excellent platform for trainees with lectures delivered by carefully selected leading speakers from the UK.

The Work of the BLTG

BLTG will provide a voice for UK liver transplantation bringing together all clinicians and allied personnel involved or interested in liver transplantation in the UK. By working closely with allied bodies such as the Liver Advisory Group to NHSBT, the British Transplant Society, BASL, BSG, AUGIS and LICAGE, BLTG will provide the professional view on aspects of planning and delivering liver service for the UK, including liver transplantation. There will also be a strong emphasis on education and training and setting out the future needs of UK Liver services / transplantation.

The BLTG Committee

BLTG Chair Dr Varuna Aluvihare, Kings College Hospital, London
BLTG Past Chair Professor Derek Manas, Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne
BLTG Secretary Dr Andrew Holt, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham
Conference and Education Lead Dr Joanna Leithead, Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge
Transplant Hepatology representative Dr Steven Masson, Freeman Hospital, Newcastle Upon Tyne
Transplant Surgery Representative Professor Brian Davidson, Royal Free Hospital, London
Pathology representative Dr Tim Kendall, University of Edinburgh and Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh
Pharmacy representative Claire Bullen, Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge
BSG representative Yiannis Kallis, Royal London Hospital 
Transplant Co-ordinator Sarah Coate, King’s College Hospital, London
Nursing Representative Katie Ramos, Derriford Hospital, Plymouth
Paediatric representative Dr Eirini Kyrana, Leeds Teaching Hospital
Patient Representative Martine Walmsley, PSC Support
Patient Representative Vanessa Hebditch, British Liver Trust
BASL representative (Treasurer) James Ferguson, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham
BTS Representative Mr Krishna Menon, Kings College, London
Substance misuse specialists (SMSLT) representative Liz Shepherd, Royal Free Hospital, London
Interventional Radiology representative Dr Jai Patel, Leeds Teaching Hospital
Anaesthetic Representative Dr Suehana Rahman, Royal Free Hospital, London
ITU Representative
Dr Brian Hogan, Kings College, London
Research Strategy Lead Dr Matt Armstrong, University Hospital, Birmingham

Dr Varuna Aluvihare, King’s College Hospital, London

Dr Aluvihare is Transplant Hepatology and Governance Lead at the Institute of Liver Studies, King’s College Hospital, and Chair of the British Liver Transplant Group. He qualified at the Royal Free Hospital and completed his professional training at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge. He undertook MRC funded Training (PhD) and Clinician Scientist fellowships in Immunology/Molecular Biology at the world renowned MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, University of Cambridge. He was awarded a 5-year HEFCE Senior Lecturer Fellowship and an ROTRF grant in transplantation research at King’s College Hospital. He is a member of the UK Liver Transplant Advisory Group, Hepatology representative on the National Multivisceral Transplantation Review Group, Transplant Hepatology representative on the British Transplant Society Council and a member of the Editorial Board for Liver Transplantation.

Professor Derek Manas, Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne

Professor Manas is a Consultant HPB and Transplant Surgeon, Newcastle upon Tyne. He is a Professor of Transplantation Surgery and Director of the Institute of Transplantation at the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne. Professor Manas trained in Cape Town, Johns Hopkins and Paris. He is President Elect of the British Transplant Society and Chair of the Transplant Surgeons Chapter. His interests cover the Management of HCC, Surgical Management of Hilar Cholangiocarcinama, Ablative therapies for Liver and Pancreas Tumours and the use of Marginal organs for Transplantation.

Dr Andrew Holt, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham / University of Birmingham

Dr Holt is a Consultant Physician and Transplant Hepatologist based at the Liver Unit in Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham and a Senior Researcher at the University of Birmingham.  Andrew moved to the Birmingham Liver Transplant Unit in 2002 and was the Clinical Service Lead until 2018. His particular interests are in addiction-related liver disease and transplantation and he leads the multidisciplinary High Intensity Clinic for complex disease management. His research interests are predominantly based around the management of decompensated liver disease and he holds a PhD from the University of Birmingham for his work studying stromal immune interactions within the liver.  

Dr Joanna A Leithead, MBChB MD MRCP, Consultant in Hepatology and Liver Transplantation, Addenbrookes Hospital Cambridge

Dr Joanna A Leithead, MBChB MD MRCP is a Consultant in Hepatology and Liver Transplantation in Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge, UK. She has more than 10 years of experience in transplant centres, including 3 years in the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh researching aspects of portal hypertension and 5 years as the Clinical Lecturer in Hepatology in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. Her main active research focus is the role that liver graft injury plays in the development of renal injury. Her clinical interests are complications of portal hypertension and liver transplantation. She is a member of the NHSBT Liver Advisory Group, and the Conference and Education Lead for the British Liver Transplant Group.

Dr Steven Masson, Consultant in Hepatology and Liver Transplantation, Freeman Hospital, Newcastle Upon Tyne

Dr Masson is a Consultant Hepatologist at the regional Liver and Transplant Unit at the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle and Institute of Cellular Medicine, Newcastle University.  His clinical and research interests are focused around alcohol-related liver disease, haemochromatosis and liver transplantation.  He is the Hepatology speciality group lead for the North East and Cumbria LCRN.  He is the consultant lead for the alcohol liaison team at the Newcastle Hospitals.  He graduated from Edinburgh University and subsequently trained in hepatology and liver transplantation in Edinburgh, Newcastle and London.

Professor Brian Davidson, Royal Free Hospital, London

Professor Davidson is a consultant surgeon with a major interest in HPB surgery and liver transplant. He is UK editor of the Cochrane HPB group for evidence based healthcare and director of the UCL MSc in evidence based medicine. He works closely with patient groups on research advances in the HPB field and leads a research programme involving evidence based healthcare, organ preservation and tissue engineering, image guided surgery and novel approaches to the treatment of HPB cancers.

Dr Tim Kendall, Senior Clinical Fellow in Pathology, University of Edinburgh and Honorary Consultant Liver Pathologist, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh

Dr Kendall's research interests are liver fibrogenesis and primary liver cancer but he provides histopathological support for many other preclinical, translational and clinical studies. He is a member of the UK Liver Pathology group research subcommittee, and he promotes histopathological involvement in trials through membership of the CM-Path Clinical Trials workstream, the NCRI Hepatobiliary CSG subgroup, and his role within the Lothian NRS Human Annotated Bioresource. Dr Kendall graduated from Southampton University Medical School, and trained in pathology in Southampton and Edinburgh.

Dr Yiannis Kallis, Royal London Hospital

Dr Kallis is a Consultant Hepatologist at the Royal London Hospital and Honorary Transplant Hepatologist at the Royal Free Hospital. He runs an outreach liver transplant service for NE London and is Clinical Lead for Hepatology at the Royal London Hospital. He was awarded a PhD from Imperial College London in 2010 for his work on stem cells in liver fibrosis regeneration and is an Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer at QMUL. His current clinical and research interests are in PBC, cholangiopathies (PSC and IgG4 related disease), coagulation in liver disease and advanced ERCP.

Sarah Coate, King’s College Hospital, London

Sarah Coate studied for her first degree at Leeds University in Psychology before training as a nurse. Once she gained her nursing qualification she worked on cardio-thoracic intensive care at St George's for 18 months before transferring to Liver Intensive Care at Kings College Hospital in 2005. She was a junior sister in charge charge of the Liver ITU, a Practice Development Educator and joined the Transplant Coordinator team in 2008. She has experience of looking after both pre and post-transplant patients and has coordinated the Outpatient Pre-assessment clinic for 3 years, working closely with the MDT. She then took on the Lead Coordinator role for Transition Care and Health Promotion clinic.  Her specific interests are; non adherence post-transplant, pregnancy post-transplant, transition from paediatric to adult services, management of obesity, diabetic control, and hypertension post transplant and nurse led transplant asessment clinics. She regularly participates in the On Call Service for Liver Transplant at King's and is involved in receiving liver offers, selection of recipients, preparation of recipients for theatre, and the coordination of surgical teams.  

Katie Ramos, Derriford Hospital, Plymouth

Katie Ramos qualified at St Georges Hospital/Kingston University. Shortly after she developed her interest in Hepatology Nursing when she moved to the Liver Intensive Care, Kings College Hospital. Following several years of experience she became a junior sister as well as being a member of the liver retrieval team. Following this she became a liver recipient transplant coordinator at Kings, focussing on pre transplant and waiting list management. In 2009 she took up her current post as Liver transplant coordinator at the South West Liver Unit, University Hospitals Plymouth. Here she has cemented her experience and knowledge in all aspects of care of liver transplants patients and manages their care throughout the transplant journey; seeing patients from the point of referral for assessment through to long term follow-up. Her role has evolved through this time taking on more extended roles including non-medical prescribing and is currently undertaking her masters in advanced clinical practice. Katie co-leads on transition for the unit and is an integral part of the south west liver nurse group focussing on providing education to ward nurses as well as supporting patient inclusion via social media and advocating peer support.

Dr Eirini Kyrana, Leeds Teaching Hospital

Dr Eirini Serena Kyrana is a Consultant in Paediatric Hepatology at the Children's Liver Unit at the Leeds Children's Hospital and Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Leeds. Her training in hepatology has been at King's College Hospital and in gastroenterology and nutrition at Great Ormond Street Hospital. She looks after children with acute and chronic liver disease, as well as with end stage liver disease before and after liver transplantation. She has a strong interest in nutritional issues, metabolism and body composition of children with chronic liver disease and has an MDRes with King's College London looking at body composition and metabolic profiles of children with end stage liver disease.

Mr Krishna Menon, Kings College, London

Mr Menon is a Consultant Liver Transplant and Hepatopancreatobiliary Surgeon who has recently been appointed to the King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in January 2013. Previously, he was Consultant Surgeon from January 2002 to December 2012 at the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust with a specialist interest in Transplantation and Hepato-pancreatobiliary surgery. Over the years as a Consultant at the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and currently, he has helped develop techniques in transplantation and HPB surgery. Currently, at King’s College Hospital he is a part of a Consultant Team that is arguably one the leading liver transplant centers in the United Kingdom and worldwide. He is also the National Councillor for Liver Transplant on the British Transplant Society.  

Liz Shepherd RGN, RMN, Royal Free Hospital, London

Liz Shepherd is lead Specialist Nurse in substance misuse and liver transplantation based at Royal Free liver transplant unit, providing specialist substance misuse input to patients undergoing liver transplantation.  She has worked with patients who have problematic alcohol use since 1992 and also set up and developed an alcohol liaison service to the Whittington hospital.  Since 2004 Liz has developed the role and value of substance misuse assessment in the context of liver transplantation in the UK. This has led to the development of the UK national guidelines for alcohol and liver transplantation (Lancet 2006) and also for transplantation in the context of illicit drug use (2007). She is a founder member of the SMSLT bringing together specialists in this area from across the UK.  Liz was a member of the Department of Health working group on delivering IBA in hospital settings (2011) and was a clinical advisor for the NCEPOD report “Measuring the Units” (2013). More recently she was an active member of the working group rewriting the LAG alcohol guidelines (2016 in press) and acted as a script advisor to EastEnders ArLD liver transplant storyline (2016/17). She is the current Chair of SMSLT and is their representative on BLTG committee.

Dr Jai Patel, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTHT)

Dr Patel was appointed as consultant in vascular and interventional radiology at LTHT in 1999. Together with other colleagues in the department he provides a comprehensive specialist vascular radiology service in a wide range of minimally invasive interventions. His main area of interest and expertise is in liver intervention, specifically in trans-arterial therapies for the treatment of liver tumours and interventional radiological management of portal hypertension (cirrhotic, non-cirrhotic and Budd-Chiari syndrome). His practice includes intervention in both adult and paediatric liver patients. He was previously Lead Clinician for vascular radiology at LTHT for 5 years and remains the lead interventionalist for the liver service in Leeds. Previous committee work has included Education Committee Chairman and Secretary of the British Society of Interventional Radiology. He also has an interest in the use of new medical devices and technologies in patient management, and is currently a committee member of the NICE Medical Technologies Advisory Committee.

Dr Suehana Rahman, Royal Free Hospital, London

Dr Rahman MBBS BSc (Hons) FRCA, is a Consultant Hepatobiliary and Liver Transplant Anaesthetist at the Royal Free Hospital, London. During her transplant fellowship she undertook research in cirrhotic cardiomyopathy and acute kidney injury after transplantation. She is an active member of the Royal Free Perioperative Research Group and current anaesthetic representative for the British Liver Transplant Group.  

Dr Brian Hogan, Kings College, London

Dr Hogan qualified from University College London Medical School in 2004. He completed Specialist Training in Critical Care Medicine and Hepatology at King's College Hospital, The Royal Free Hospital and Guy's and St Thomas' Hospitals before joining King's as a Consultant in 2018. Whilst training he completed research at The Royal Free Hospital and University College London investigating novel methods of assessing portal hypertension in patients with severe liver disease.  Dr Hogan works as a Consultant in both Critical Care Medicine and Hepatology.

Dr Matt Armstrong, University Hospital, Birmingham

Dr Armstrong is a consultant in Liver and Transplant Medicine at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Birmingham and Honorary Lecturer at the National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre at the University of Birmingham, UK. His main research interests include non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), lipotoxicity/obesity, cardiovascular risk, prehabilitation and physical frailty/sarcopenia in patients before and liver transplantation. He is a named author on more than 80 publications in his area of specialization and was awarded Dame Sheila Sherlock Award in 2016 for his bench-to-bedside research of GLP-1 in NAFLD. He currently co-runs the liver transplant waiting list clinic and evolving prehabilitation services in Birmingham.