Pediatric Liver Transplant
A liver transplant can help a child with severe liver disease live a normal, healthy life. That is our goal for your child. Our team of experts is specially trained to care for children for whom a liver transplant has been recommended. Our patients include children and small babies with serious and complex liver disease. We are your partners on this journey, from your child’s first evaluation through their recovery and their transition to living full lives as healthy adults.
A Lifesaving Option for Children with Serious Liver Disease
Our pediatric hepatologists are liver disease specialists who routinely treat children with biliary atresia, hepatoblastoma, autoimmune liver disease, progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis (PFIC), metabolic liver disease, alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, and many other diseases. When serious, these diseases may require a liver transplant to replace a diseased liver with a healthy organ. If your child is referred to us for a liver transplant, you can feel confident in the depth of our experience.
- Your child will receive treatment at the largest pediatric liver transplant program in the North Carolina region. According to the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients, a national database of transplant statistics, our one- and three-year pediatric patient survival rates after liver transplantation exceed the national average.
- We are the only program in North and South Carolina that accepts critically ill low-weight babies.
- We perform all types of liver transplants, including whole, split, and reduced livers.
- We also offer living related and unrelated liver transplants, a process where living family members and other donors are evaluated to donate a portion of their liver.
- We are the only center in the region to perform multi-organ (liver, kidney, small intestine, and/or pancreas) transplants in children.
- As part of the Studies for Pediatric Liver Transplantation Network, we work with liver transplant experts around the nation. This gives us access to research and data and ensures your child receives the latest advances in transplant medicine, from surgery through recovery and the transition to adulthood.
Your Child’s Liver Transplant Team
- You and your child will work with a team of specialists that includes pediatric hepatologists and transplant surgeons.
- Equally important are our transplant coordinators, who help you and your child navigate the transplant process, and our advanced care providers, who include a dietician and specially trained nurses. The entire team is here to help you every step of the way -- answering your questions, providing medical counsel, and helping you understand what to expect.
- Our social worker provides your child and your family with an an additional level of care and guidance when you experience emotional issues or need help managing financial concerns.
- Our pediatric hepatologists and transplant coordinators are on-call at all times for urgent needs that arise.
PEDIATRIC LIVER TRANSPLANT
Your child will be scheduled for evaluation within days of calling our transplant coordinator. Because this is a multi-day process, we can help coordinate your stay if you are traveling to the area.
During your child’s evaluation, you will meet with multiple specialists, including the pediatric hepatologist, transplant surgeon, and infectious disease specialist. You will also meet with our transplant coordinator, a financial counselor, a dietitian, and a social worker.
Your child will undergo a physical examination and several tests, including lab work, imaging (ultrasound, echo, etc.), and possibly a liver biopsy.
Once your child has completed evaluation and the team has determined he or she is a candidate for liver transplant, they will be added to the national database maintained by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).
PEDIATRIC LIVER TRANSPLANT
Your Child’s Recovery
In general, your child will remain in the hospital for 10 to 14 days. You will need to stay close to the Durham area for one to three months for frequent follow-up visits to monitor your child’s recovery, check your child’s liver function, and manage medications.
When you are part of our program, you and your child will meet other families who have gone through similar experiences. Our doctors and providers are here to help you through every step of this process. We also provide ongoing behavioral health counseling to help you and your child cope with the stress of managing a chronic illness. We provide this ongoing support throughout your child’s recovery and beyond, as he or she transitions to adulthood.