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Description of Services

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC established the nation’s first pediatric transplant center in 1981 under the guidance of transplant pioneer Thomas E. Starzl, MD, PhD. The hospital has performed more pediatric transplants than any other pediatric transplant center. The pediatric transplant program, which achieves patient survival rates that are among the highest in the world, includes:

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Children’s also is recognized as a leader in transplantation-related research.

The hospital’s experience with small bowel transplantation illustrates the impact that better anti-rejection drugs and other advances have had on the outcomes of pediatric transplant patients. A small bowel transplant presents one of the more challenging recoveries of all transplant procedures. The introduction of FK506 made small bowel transplants feasible in the early 1990s, offering lower organ rejection rates than the earlier immunosuppressant, cyclosporine. Even with FK506, long-term survival was difficult to achieve among early patients, a fact reflected in the procedure’s overall survival rate of about 50 percent.

After 1995, Children’s made important changes that greatly improved the outcomes of small bowel and other transplant patients. These included the use of FK506 along with the steroid, prednisone, and other drugs and better tools for diagnosing and treating infections early on.

Five-year survival rates for small bowel patients improved to nearly 75 percent. And more than 80 percent of these young patients returned to school within three years following their surgeries.

More recently, doctors at Children’s began using drug therapies that eliminate prednisone from the treatment of many pediatric transplant patients. The new approach has contributed to shorter hospital stays, fewer post-surgical complications, and other favorable outcomes. Avoiding long-term steroid use also prevents side effects, such as stunted growth, hirsutism (facial and body hair) and gum enlargement, which can make it difficult for children to adjust to life at home and school.

Pediatric transplant centers also have come to offer a range of other services to help children and their families cope with the rigors of transplantation and all that their recoveries demand.

At Children’s, these services include instruction on caring for children at home, and access to social workers, psychologists, physical and occupational therapists, and others who can help with the physical, emotional, social, educational and even the financial challenges of pediatric transplantation. The hospital also runs camps — Camp Chihopi, Camp Courage, Camp Escape, and Heart Camp — that give pediatric transplant patients a chance to spend a weekend outdoors with other children who are transplant recipients.

That the children are able to spend a weekend at camp is evidence of the quality of life they can hope to enjoy after pediatric transplant and the potential of every donor organ.

For detailed information about pediatric transplant services provided at Children’s Hospital, please visit the department-specific links listed on the left of this page or the links below:

Experienced Transplant Surgeons
Family-Centered Care
Commitment to Research and Innovation
Transplant Survival Rates and Volumes

Referral Requirements

For information or to refer a patient for transplant evaluation, please call the appropriate program phone number listed below.

Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant
412-692-6740
412-692-7693 Fax
Pediatric Heart and Lung Transplant
412-692-5541
412-692-6991 Fax
Pediatric Kidney Transplant
412-692-5182
412-692-7443 Fax
Pediatric Liver and Intestine Transplant
412-692-6110 (9 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
412-648-3200 (after hours)
412-692-6116 Fax
877-640-6746 Toll-free


 

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Last Update
June 21, 2013
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