While we have no way of knowing how long your child will have to wait for a compatible liver, you should know that the geographic setting of CHOP. Organ donation awareness is high in the Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware region, due largely to effective education by state governments. In fact, Gift of Life, the organ procurement organization for this region, has the highest procurement rate in the nation.
Since 1995, CHOP and its next-door neighbor, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP), have conducted a joint liver transplant program. This affiliation allows CHOP an opportunity to draw upon the experience of one of the nation's largest adult programs. The two hospitals conduct ongoing clinical research trials.
CHOP's association with HUP effectively makes more organs available for our pediatric liver transplant patients. For example, livers offered to adult recipients at HUP can often provide liver segments to children through split-liver transplantation (surgeons perform approximately 120 adult transplants per year at HUP.) We also offer living donation from adult to child.
The Liver Transplant Program is led by liver transplant surgeons dedicated exclusively to transplantation and liver surgery. They have worked extensively with the most complex pediatric cases and have performed all forms of liver transplant:
If your child needs a liver transplant, he or she will need the expertise of physicians and other healthcare professionals in a variety of specialties. In addition to our transplant surgeons, CHOP has one of the nation's largest pediatric hepatology (the branch of medicine related to the study of liver disease) services. The transplant program is directed by full-time dedicated pediatric hepatologist, Elizabeth B. Rand, MD, who has extensive experience caring for both transplant patients and children with liver diseases.
She is supported by more than a dozen colleagues trained in general pediatric gastroenterology and other specialties, including:
Each Liver Transplant Program staff member knows this is probably the most difficult time for your family. While we can't ease all the emotional stress you're under, we'll do all we can to help you cope. We know that clear communication about your child's illness and progress is especially important, so we make this a priority. We can also help you address practical matters, such as dealing with the financial issues related to transplant and follow-up care. If you have any concerns about your child's care, please don't hesitate to ask any transplant team member.
CHOP also offers an abundance of support services for children and families, from counseling to Child Life specialists and support groups. The Connelly Resource Center for Families provides educational materials, a laundry room and showers, as well as a comfortable place to spend some quiet time or connect with other families. Our South Tower offers family lounges with space to eat, relax and watch TV; laundry facilities; playrooms with attached teen rooms; hallway telephone stations with seating; and comfortable family waiting areas at the entrance to each patient unit. If you have questions about available hospital resources, please feel free to ask.
After your child's liver transplant, he or she will be cared for in one of the nation's largest and best-equipped Pediatric Intensive Care Units (PICU). The unit's highly experienced critical care staff is specifically trained in the care of transplant patients — as well as a variety of other critically ill children — and works closely with the transplant team on its daily rounds.
After liver transplant, your child will need a lifetime of follow-up care. The Liver Transplant Program's partnership with the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania ensures he or she will have excellent care throughout childhood and adolescence, then a seamless transition to an equally strong adult program. In addition, if your family is coming to CHOP from a distance, we can coordinate with your child's local specialists and divide your child's visits between the hospital and local facilities, so you can reduce your travel time.
To make an appointment with one of our pediatric liver specialists,
call 1-877-ORGAN50 (674-2650).