Because pediatric liver transplant surgery is a complex procedure, you need a highly experienced transplant team. Duke’s outcomes, including one-year pediatric liver transplant survival rate, are consistently among the best in the nation. This is the case even though we accept low-weight infants and very sick children into our program.
Before Liver Transplant Surgery
Identifying a Healthy Liver
The quality of a donor liver is very important, and we extensively test donor livers before they are accepted for a transplant. This includes assessments for damage and an evaluation of the donor’s medical and social history to ensure that they have no transmittable diseases.
Getting the Call
Once a suitable organ is found for your child, your transplant coordinator will contact you immediately. You and your child should arrive at Duke Children’s Hospital in six hours or less after receiving the call.
When You Arrive at the Hospital
Your child will have several tests including bloodwork and an EKG. They will get an IV to receive fluids and medicine. There are times when the organ is not healthy or is otherwise not a good fit, and the transplant must be postponed until a better match is found. We hope this does not happen, but we want to find the best possible match for your child. We will continue to care for your child and prepare them for transplant surgery in the future. They will not lose their place on the UNOS waitlist.
Liver transplant surgery is performed at Duke Children's Hospital and Health Center. Pre- and post-transplant appointments take place at our liver transplant clinic within Duke Children's.
Pediatric liver transplant surgery can last from six to twelve hours. During transplantation, your child’s surgeons will remove the diseased liver and replace it with a portion of a liver from a living or deceased adult donor or an entire liver from a donor child or small adult. You will be updated on your child’s condition throughout the procedure.
Duke Children's Hospital & Health Center is proud to be nationally ranked in nine pediatric specialties.