Solutions to Intestine Donor Shortages

Improved surgical techniques developed at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh are helping ease another serious problem – a critical shortage of donor intestines.

Intestinal transplant surgeons at UPMC Children’s Hospital are able to successfully reduce an adult intestine to a fraction of its normal size so that it can be implanted into a child or even an infant, if necessary.

Using living-related donors as another source for intestines to transplant is another option Children’s Hospital surgeons are exploring. They have already successfully performed living-related liver transplants and neither the donors nor the recipients have experienced major transplant surgery complications so far.

Soon, transplant surgeons expect to begin taking both a section of the liver and a section of an intestine from a living-related donor and implanting both into a sick child. “We hadn't focused on living-related intestinal transplants because we were still trying to improve survival and immunosuppressant management,” says George Mazariegos, MD, director of Pediatric Transplantation at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. “Now that we’ve accomplished that, we’re improving technique to procure more organs, because the other half of survival is having donor organs available.”

Learn more about how Children’s Hospital’s Improved Transplant Strategies have produced better results.