Pediatric Liver Transplant

Since 1992, more than 78 pediatric patients under age 18 (range: 5.5 months – 18 years) have been successfully transplanted. Their diagnoses have included:

  • Biliary atresia
  • Fulminant hepatic failure
  • Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency
  • Autoimmune hepatitis
  • Primary sclerosing cholangitis
  • Hepatitis C
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Progressive familial intraphepatic cholestasis (PFIC)
  • Alagille’s syndrome

Many advances in the field of pediatric liver transplantation have occurred in the last decade, including immunosuppressive management, expanded donor pools, and living-related donor liver transplantation.

Clinical Outcomes

Since 1992, patient survival has been 92 percent and 89 percent at one and three years respectively with associated graft survival of 87.5 percent and 84.8 percent at one and three years respectively. These clinical results have been better than expected when compared with results from pediatric liver transplant centers around the U.S. (81 percent at one year and 76 percent at 5 years [Clinical Transplants, 1997]).

State-of-the-art interventional radiology support has also allowed us to successfully correct vascular problems and bile duct narrowing, which historically are the “Archilles’ heel” of pediatric liver transplantation.

Program Accomplishments

The pediatric liver transplant program has been enhanced by developing an active living-related liver transplant program. Donors for our patients have been parents of our patients, but they can also include other adults both related and unrelated.

To date, more than 15 living-related transplants have been successfully performed, including 10 during the past 12 months. N.C. Children's Hospital has the largest living-related donor liver programs in the Carolinas. Living-related donors allow the surgery to be performed semi-electively, and few patients die while waiting on the transplant list.

UNC Pediatric Liver Transplant Team

Our dedicated transplant team includes:

  • Pediatric gastroenterologists
  • Transplant surgeons
  • Pediatric liver specialists
  • Pediatric infectious disease specialist
  • Nurses
  • Dieticians
  • Social workers
  • Teachers
  • Psychologists
  • Pharmacists
  • Support staff

The team’s goal is to provide the best possible pre- and post-transplant care for those children requiring liver transplantation.

Members of the UNC pediatric transplant team include:

Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology

Division of Transplant Surgery