Specialized Treatment for Childhood Liver Diseases
There are many different causes of liver disease in children. That's why our specialists’ first goal is to identify the cause of your child’s liver disease. Some of the liver diseases that affect children include:
- Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, a genetic disorder that damages the liver
- Pediatric liver cancer
- Autoimmune hepatitis, liver injury caused by antibodies attacking the liver
- Biliary atresia, scarring and blockage of the bile ducts
- Glycogen storage disease, a buildup of glycogen, or sugar, in the liver
- Pediatric nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, in which fat builds up in the liver
- Pediatric metabolic liver disease, genetic disorders that affect the body’s metabolism
- Wilson’s disease, a genetic disorder that causes copper buildup in the liver and liver injury
- Viral hepatitis, infections like chronic hepatitis C that affect the liver
Our pediatric liver center draws on the expertise of many different specialists to treat your child’s liver disease. Depending on your child’s individual needs, their care team may include a pediatric gastroenterologist and hepatologist as well as nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and dietitians who have years of experience treating children with liver diseases. If necessary, we also draw upon the expertise of Duke specialists in genetics, immunology, metabolism, nephrology, cardiology, and infectious diseases.
Family and Support Services
When you bring your child to Duke Children’s, our team will answer all of your questions and be with you every step of the way. Our doctors and nurses will also connect your family to other hospital services for the extra care your child needs.
Our child life specialists provide support, education, and guidance to help you and your child during treatment and hospitalization. Child life specialists explain procedures, offer encouragement, and use fun activities to take your child’s mind off treatment.
Care Coordination and Support
Our social workers can help you navigate the medical system and coordinate the variety of health services your child may need. We help you work with insurance providers, connect to community resources, and manage details related to your child’s care.
If your child is staying at Duke Children’s, you can relax in the Ronald McDonald Family Room. You can grab a light meal, shower, do laundry, or use a computer with internet access.
Expertise in Pediatric Liver Diseases
Experience with Complex Conditions
We have multidisciplinary programs, like the Fontan Program, which cares for children after surgery for complex congenital heart defects. These children may have liver injury because of the changes that take place after their surgery.
Portal Hypertension Liver Disease Expertise
We offer North Carolina’s highest level of specialty care for children with portal hypertension. This serious condition occurs when blood pressure in the portal vein -- the vein that carries blood to the liver -- is elevated.
The Highest-Quality Surgical Care
If your child needs liver or bile duct surgery, you can be confident in the range of our expertise. Duke Children’s is one of a small number of U.S. hospitals verified as a Level I children's surgery center by the American College of Surgeons. This Level I designation recognizes our commitment to providing the safest and highest-quality surgical care to our young patients.
Pediatric Liver Transplant Program
If a liver transplant is necessary, your child is in excellent hands. Our pediatric liver transplant program is the largest in the region, and our survival rates exceed the national average.
The Latest Research
Many of our doctors are actively involved in research, which means your child may be eligible to receive innovative therapies only available through participation in clinical trials.
Coordination and Support
Many pediatric liver diseases must be monitored on a regular basis. If it is safe for your child, we can work with their local doctor to coordinate lab tests and manage their treatment plan so you can stay as close to home as possible.