It's very important that your child be as healthy as possible for the liver transplant. When the liver transplant coordinator contacts to let you know a suitable liver is available, he or she will ask you about your child's health. Let the coordinator know if your child has recently had a cold, flu or fever, or been exposed to chickenpox or other infectious diseases. If there are any concerns, the liver transplant coordinator will discuss them with the transplant physicians.
Once you're contacted, you will be instructed about your arrival time at the hospital, when your child should stop eating and drinking, and given any other special instructions. The liver transplant coordinator may be able to give you an estimated time for the transplant surgery.
Talk to your liver transplant coordinator about where to go when you arrive at the hospital. At The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, you should proceed to the welcome desk, located on the first floor of the main building. Between the hours of 5 p.m. and 8 a.m., you should enter through the emergency room. Once the admission process has been completed, you and your child will be escorted to an assigned room.
When you arrive on the patient unit, we will give your child an intravenous (IV) line through which he will receive antibiotics and other medications. We will draw blood, take X-rays and obtain a urine sample, as well. The anesthesiologist (the doctor who will help your child sleep during the surgery) and the transplant surgeon or surgical resident will perform physical examinations to assess your child's health and review the surgical procedure. They will ask you to sign the surgical and anesthesia consent forms — standard procedures before any surgery.
Note: Sometimes patients and their families are called into the hospital for liver transplant and the donor liver is then found to be unsuitable for the child. Although this is extremely disappointing, the surgeons want to be confident the organ is perfect for your child before transplanting it.
Reviewed by: Elizabeth B. Rand, MD
Date: November 2012