When a child’s liver stops working and other treatments haven’t helped, a transplant may become the best option. A liver transplant is a surgery where doctors remove a sick liver and replace it with a healthy donor liver. These days, most children who get liver transplants go on to live active, healthy lives. At Nemours, our liver transplant team will guide your family throughout your journey. We’ll work with you long after surgery to give your child the best possible chance for a healthy future.
New Liver, New Lease on Life
Conditions We Treat for Pediatric Liver Transplantation
The liver is the body’s largest solid organ. It sits next to the stomach on the right side of the abdomen (belly). The liver has many jobs, including cleaning toxins out of the blood and making bile (a liquid that helps break down food during digestion). Different kinds of conditions can cause the liver to fail.
We see a full spectrum of conditions — far too many to list here. The conditions we treat vary depending upon the location and providers selected. Don’t see a condition listed? Call us.
- acute liver failure (when the liver doesn’t work and symptoms develop quickly)
- acute or chronic viral hepatitis (a virus that can cause liver cancer, scarring or failure)
- autoimmune hepatitis (when the body’s own immune system attacks the liver)
- biliary atresia (the most common reason for a liver transplant — when the tubes that carry bile out of the liver and gallbladder to the intestine are blocked)
- genetic conditions (certain inherited disorders that can affect the liver)
- liver disorders related to gastrointestinal disease (some diseases of the digestive tract can also affect the liver)
- liver tumors (when liver cancer can’t be cured with surgery or chemotherapy)
- metabolic liver disease (affects how the body turns food into energy)
- nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (when fat builds up in the liver because of causes other than drinking alcohol)
- sclerosing cholangitis (when the bile ducts are narrow or blocked)
Liver Transplant Services We Offer
Our liver transplant team will support your family from start to finish. We offer complete treatment and support services from highly experienced transplant team members who have dedicated their lives to helping children like yours:
- transplant coordinator — a specially trained nurse who serves as your point person, arranging all the details of your child’s care
- transplant surgeons — who are trained and board-certified in pediatric surgery, with further training in pediatric liver transplants
- hepatologist/gastroenterologist — digestive tract specialists who also evaluate and treat kids with liver problems
- pediatricians — children’s doctors who provide care around the time of the transplant and over the long term
- dietitians/nutritionists — who offer advice and meal plans for kids with specific nutritional needs
- physical and occupational therapists — who encourage specific activities and movement to make sure your child is physically strong before leaving the hospital
- pharmacist — who's an expert in medication use for liver disease or transplant patients
- social worker — who provides your child and family emotional support, and helps you prepare for each step of the process
- psychologists and psychiatrists — who offer a wide range of emotional support services
- pastoral care — clergy who can give spiritual support
- Child Life specialists — who are specially trained to work with kids who are sick and receiving treatment in a hospital setting
- financial coordinator — who works with you and your insurance company to arrange all financial aspects of your child’s care before and after the transplant
Why Choose Us for Pediatric Liver Transplant
Our transplant program is a national leader in the field. With decades of experience and many successful transplants, our team oversees one of the largest pediatric transplant programs in the country. Given that we see children with even the most complex, severe liver disease, our clinical outcomes make us one of the nation’s best for liver transplants in kids.
We were also one of the first programs in our area to do living-related donor procedures. This allows a living relative to donate part of their liver for transplantation. And that makes it possible for more children to get a transplant sooner.
Regional Liver Transplant Highlights
Services, programs and care teams differ at each location. Call for details.
We offer liver transplant care at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children (Wilmington, Del.).
- named one of the best children’s hospitals in the country for gastroenterology (GI) and GI surgery by U.S. News & World Report
- one of the only dedicated pediatric centers in the country to offer a full-service approach to liver tumors in kids, with experts in oncology (cancer care), interventional radiology (image-guided therapy), general surgery and liver transplantation
- program approved by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) , working in partnership with the Gift of Life Donor Program
- specialized clinics where kids who need a liver transplant can get convenient, coordinated care from other specialists, such as weight management experts and registered dietitians with expertise in pediatric liver disease
- coordinated care and teamwork — with all of our experts working together to give your child complete transplant care
- collaboration with the world-renowned Thomas Jefferson University (TJU) Hospital transplant team
- participation in Studies of Pediatric Liver Transplantation (SPLIT) — a community of pediatric liver transplant specialists (at 41 pediatric centers in the U.S. and Canada) who collect and analyze information to improve care for kids who need liver transplants
- Ronald McDonald House of Delaware right across from our campus, for an affordable home away from home during long hospital stays