News Releases

News Releases

For Immediate Release

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Celebrates Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness Week

Children’s reaches milestone as surgeons perform small bowel transplant on 100th patient

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, an international leader in pediatric organ transplantation, will observe Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness Week April 20-26.

Since its first transplant in 1981, Children’s has been at the forefront of transplant surgery and research. Earlier this year, Children’s surgeons performed a small bowel transplant on the 100th patient in hospital history, more than any other pediatric transplant center in the world.

Approximately 81,000 people in the United States are waiting for organ transplants - including more than 270 patients registered at Children’s - according to the United Network for Organ Sharing. On average, 16 people nationwide die each day awaiting an organ.

“Dealing with the death of a loved one, especially a child, is a very difficult time for families. Organ donation is the one positive gift that can come from that situation,” said Jorge Reyes, MD, director of pediatric liver and intestine transplantation at Children’s and the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute. “Even with the most cutting-edge technology and top surgeons, lives still depend on the extraordinary decisions made by organ donors and their families.”

Next week, staff members from Children’s transplant programs will answer questions about transplantation and register donors at an information table in the hospital’s cafeteria from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday, April 21; Wednesday, April 23; and Friday, April 25. On Tuesday, April 22, Girl Scout Troop 207 from Hampton will present the hospital with sewn gift bags for transplant patients that include personal items such as toys and phone cards.

In May of 1981, surgeons performed Children’s first organ transplant - a liver transplant on a 2-year-old boy from Tennessee. Since then, Children’s surgeons have performed more than 1,600 transplants, among the most by any pediatric transplant center in the world.

In 2002, Children’s performed 71 transplants, including 26 liver transplants; 14 heart transplants; 14 kidney transplants; 11 intestine transplants; 5 pancreas transplants; and 1 heart-lung transplant.

Children’s heart and heart-lung transplant program also reached a milestone last year, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the hospital’s first heart transplant. Since 1982, Children’s has performed more than 280 thoracic organ transplants, making it one of the most active pediatric cardiopulmonary transplant centers in the world. Children’s performed the world’s first pediatric heart-lung transplant and the world’s first pediatric heart-liver transplant. Children’s has also been one of the only pediatric transplant centers in the world to pioneer the use of a ventricular assist device as a bridge to heart transplantation.

Marc Lukasiak, 412-692-5016,
Melanie Finnigan, 412-692-5016,

Last Update
February 20, 2008
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Last Update
February 20, 2008