Liver transplant

For children with severe pediatric chronic liver disease, or acute liver failure, a liver transplant may be the best and only solution. Our uniquely qualified staff work with your child, your family and the referring physician to ensure optimal treatment before, during and after liver transplant.

As the largest pediatric liver transplant center in Wisconsin, we have performed more than 100 liver transplants, including Wisconsin’s:

  • First pediatric living donor liver transplant (1999)
  • First pediatric combined liver and heart transplant (2012)
  • First pediatric in situ split liver transplant (2013)

Our team of dedicated professionals has been assembled to anticipate and meet the needs of your child – and your family – throughout the process. Our team includes:

  • Pediatric hepatologist (liver specialist)
  • Transplant surgeon
  • Anesthesiologist
  • Nurse practitioner
  • Clinical nurses
  • Transplant coordinator
  • Social worker
  • Dietitian
  • Child psychologist
  • Pharmacist
  • Financial counselor
  • Other pediatric specialists, as needed for optimal care of your child

Your child’s new liver will come from either a living donor – such as a suitable relative – or a deceased anonymous donor, following placement on the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), a private, nonprofit organization that manages the nation's organ transplant system under contract with the federal government.

Our ceaseless commitment to improving the outcome and experience for children with chronic liver disease fuels our continued advancements in research and clinical trials.

Kohl’s Child Life Program

Our Child Life Program is an important part of the health care team offering family support, pre-admission tours, medical play and more.

 

Conditions

Many diseases impact the liver, but not all liver diseases lead to transplant. Conditions that cause liver damage and could lead to a transplant include the following:

  • Alagille syndrome
  • Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency
  • Autoimmune hepatitis
  • Biliary atresia
  • Cirrhosis: cryptogenic-idiopathic
  • Acute liver failure
  • Hemochromatosis
  • Hepatomegaly
  • Jaundice/cholestatic liver disease
  • Metabolic liver diseases
  • Total parenteral nutrition cholestasis
  • Viral hepatitis
  • Wilson’s disease

Read more about liver transplant conditions.

Transplant process

The liver transplant process is much more than surgery. A liver transplant requires extensive preparation and follow-up care that lasts a lifetime.

Liver transplant process includes:

  • Evaluation of your child’s liver condition and prognosis
  • Placement on the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) list
  • Living donor identification
  • Pre-transplant education for your child and your family
  • Waiting for a matching liver to become available
  • Liver transplant surgery
  • Surgical aftercare to prevent your child’s body from rejecting the new organ
  • Follow-up care to monitor health and progress through the years

Read more about liver transplant process.

Research

One of the most important ways we work on behalf of children and their families is through our research initiatives in pediatric liver transplant. This includes:

  • Studies in Pediatric Liver Transplantation (SPLIT) - a national database of pediatric liver transplant outcomes
  • Liver Disease and Liver Transplant Database Study
  • Quality of Life and Vulnerability in Pediatric Solid Organ Transplant Recipients
  • Parents of Pediatric Solid Organ transplant Recipients: Transition to Home and Chronic Illness Care.

Clinical trials