Caring for children with liver disease

Learn how our Gastroenterology, Liver and Nutrition Program cares for children with liver disease.

Related tests and treatments:

Our approach to liver disease and transplant

We know that a liver disease diagnosis can be stressful and challenging for families, and we work quickly to develop an accurate diagnosis and support your child and family with information, understanding and compassion. We use a team approach to provide education, support and ongoing disease management.

Our Liver Disease Program has a strong track record in successfully managing both common and rare liver disorders. Our multidisciplinary team includes pediatric hepatologists, pediatric nurse clinicians, pediatric nurse practitioners, pediatric dietitians, pediatric psychologists, social workers, pharmacists, radiologists and transplant surgeons. This comprehensive program is led by Grzegorz W. Telega, MD, a board-certified hepatologist.

In some cases, a liver transplant may be your child’s best option. Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin is home to the largest pediatric liver transplant center in Wisconsin and is well known as a pioneer in the transplantation field, performing the state’s first pediatric combined liver and heart transplant in 2012 and first pediatric in situ split liver transplant in 2013. We also work tirelessly to improve the outcome and experience for children with chronic liver disease through our continued advancements in research and clinical trials.

Liver disease and transplant services we offer

We offer diagnosis and treatment for:

  • Alagille syndrome
  • Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency
  • Autoimmune hepatitis
  • Biliary atresia
  • Cirrhosis
  • Elevated liver enzymes
  • Hemochromatosis
  • Hepatomegaly
  • Jaundice/cholestatic liver diseases
  • Metabolic liver diseases, including:
  • Maple syrup urine disease
  • Methylmalonic acidemia
  • Ornithine Transcarbamylase deficiencies
  • Glycogen storage disease
  • Total parenteral nutrition cholestasis
  • Hepatitis
  • Wilson’s disease
  • Liver transplant

Our entire team has vast experience treating liver disorders. That includes nurses who specialize in liver disease, dieticians who frequently work with children who have liver disorders, social workers who can help navigate insurance and school issues, pharmacists who are knowledgeable of how liver disease affects the metabolism of medications and who can help manage any potential drug interactions, and radiologists who have special training in this area.

If your child requires a liver transplant, we’ll work with your family to ensure optimal treatment before, during and after liver transplant. Our transplant services include initial evaluation, placement on the United Network for Organ Sharing list, the actual transplant and aftercare.

Our Child Life Program is an important resource that offers family support, pre-admission tours, medical play and more.

Diagnosing and treating liver disease

If your child’s medical history and symptoms are consistent with liver disease, your child’s doctor might use the following tests to confirm the diagnosis:

We’ll work together to create a customized treatment plan for your child. Depending on your child’s particular liver disorder, it could include:

  • Dietary management
  • Nutritional supplementation
  • Medications
  • Surgical treatments to repair bile ducts
  • Liver transplant