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News Releases

For Immediate Release

Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh Advances Its Role as an International Leader in Pediatric Organ Transplantation

Week of April 26 is Organ Donor Awareness Week

Surgeons at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh performed more pediatric organ transplants than any other transplant center in the world in 2003, and already have performed more than 20 transplants this year.

Children's performed nearly 80 transplants in 2003, including a record 27 intestine transplants, 20 liver transplants, 11 heart transplants, 11 kidney transplants and four lung transplants.

Despite the advancements in organ transplantation made at Children's and other centers around the world, there continues to be a critical shortage of organs available for transplant. On average, 16 people nationwide die each day waiting for transplants. Nearly 85,000 people are currently on the waiting list for a live-saving transplant.

To encourage people to become organ donors, April has been designated National Donate Life Month by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Children's will observe the week of April 26 as Organ Donor Awareness Week.

Representatives from the hospital's transplant program will be on hand from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday, April 26 through 30, in the hospital cafeteria to provide information to families about organ donation and to register new organ donors.

"Over the last two decades, we've made incredible progress, achieving survival rates with our patients that are among the highest in the world," said George Mazariegos, MD, newly appointed director of pediatric transplantation at Children's. "We're continually improving the outcomes for transplant recipients, so when a family makes the courageous decision to donate a loved one's organs, they know that their decision may save many other lives."

Since establishing the world's first pediatric transplant center 22 years ago under the leadership of transplant pioneer Thomas Starzl, MD, Children's has performed more than 1,600 transplants, the most of any pediatric center. The hospital performs liver, intestine, liver-intestine, kidney, kidney-pancreas, heart, lung, heart-lung, and blood and bone marrow transplants.

Research programs at Children's are helping to advance pediatric transplantation. Important clinical trials in research include progress in immunotherapy, transplantation tolerance, organ preservation, bioengineering, living intestine transplants and post-transplant therapies, including the reduction of steroid-based and immunosuppressive drugs.

Marc Lukasiak, 412-692-5016,

Last Update
February 19, 2008
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Last Update
February 19, 2008