Medical Specialties

After Pediatric Liver Surgery


Liver Transplants at Phoenix Children's Hospital

Success rates and cures are high with pediatric liver transplants. More than 90% of children who receive liver transplants survive the first year and more than 80% survive five years.

Possible Complications in Pediatric Liver Transplant Patients

The liver is a complex organ and liver transplants require lifelong attention, including taking immunosuppressant medications to prevent rejection.

Rejection is the most common problem that transplant patients experience. Often, rejection does not have any symptoms and is diagnosed on routine blood tests with elevated liver enzymes. Rejection can be prevented by adhering to the immunosuppressant schedule and making sure you don't miss medication doses.

About 50% of patients experience early rejection within the first six months and about 2/3 of patients experience at least one episode of rejection within 10 years after the transplant.

Rejection is treated with additional immunosuppressant medications. If the rejection cannot be reversed, it could lead to a re-transplantation.

Additional complications could include:

  • Infection
  • Bile leaks
  • Internal bleeding
  • Blood clots
  • Immunosuppressant medication side effects
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Renal (kidney) dysfunction
  • Cancer (e.g. post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease)

Long-Term Care for Children with Liver Transplants

Routine follow-ups involve:

  • Two follow-up visits per year.
  • Lab tests every two months to assure the liver is functioning well, the immunosuppressant medication level is optimal and that there is no sign of infection.
  • Lifelong use of immunosuppressant medications

Patients who have medical problems or complications are seen in the clinic and have blood tests performed more frequently.

Aftercare is vital to the health of a liver transplant patient. Our team works in collaboration with your primary care physician to assure that all medical needs are addressed.

We develop long-term relationships with our patients and families to make sure kids have the best chance for a long, healthy life. Some patients may experience difficulties adapting to this life-changing medical issue, and our psycho-social programs and staff specialize in dealing with these specific issues. Our team of multidisciplinary sub-specialists are available to deal with any other issues that may arise.

Once the patient reaches adulthood, we will help you transition care to an adult facility.

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