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News Releases

For Immediate Release

Children’s Hospital Transplant Surgeons Frequently Turning to Living Donors To Help Alleviate Nation’s Organ Shortage

Children’s recently performed its first simultaneous living-donor, liver-kidney transplant

In order to provide lifesaving transplants for pediatric patients in the face of a national donor shortage, surgeons at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC are increasingly turning to an innovative source – living donors.

Last month, surgeons from the Hillman Center for Pediatric Transplantation at Children’s performed the center’s first-ever simultaneous living-donor liver-kidney transplant from two separate donors. During a single procedure, the 6-year-old patient from the Pittsburgh region with polycystic kidney disease and liver failure received a section of his mother’s liver and a kidney from his uncle. The liver-kidney transplant was successful, and the patient currently is recovering at home.

“Living-donor transplants are enabling us to provide transplantation as an option for patients who might otherwise die waiting for an organ from a deceased donor to become available,” said George V. Mazariegos, MD, director of Pediatric Transplantation at Children’s and the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute. “There are a number of advantages to having a living donor. It provides additional organs for those on the national waiting list, and allows us to schedule the transplant as opposed to doing it on an emergency basis.”

Children’s performed 17 living-donor liver and kidney transplants in 2006 and has performed four so far this year. Since Thomas E. Starzl, MD, PhD, established the world’s first pediatric transplant center at Children’s in 1981, more than 150 living-donor kidney and liver transplants have been performed with excellent survival rates. The hospital also offers living-donor lung transplants.

Survival rates in our living-donor transplant recipients are generally higher than in our deceased-donor recipients,” said Ron Shapiro, MD, director of the Pediatric Kidney Transplant Program at Children’s and the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute. “These types of transplants are often very successful because we can find a donor who is an excellent tissue match with the recipient, reducing the risk of rejection. Also, because we have scheduled the surgery, we can begin giving immunosuppressive medications to the recipient prior to transplant, further reducing the risk of rejection.”

There are more than 95,000 people nationwide waiting for an organ transplant, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing. Across the country, approximately 18 people, including six children, die each day waiting for a transplant. Children’s transplant experts want to raise awareness of the need for organ, tissue and marrow donors during April, which is National Donate Life Month.

Learn more about organ transplantation and the Hillman Center for Pediatric Transplantation at Children’s.


Marc Lukasiak, 412-692-7919 or 412-692-5016,
Melanie Finnigan, 412-692-5502 or 412-692-5016,

Last Update
July 14, 2013
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Last Update
July 14, 2013