Living-Donor Liver Transplant for Children

Pediatric living-donor liver transplant is a life-saving procedure for many critically ill children. The national wait list for a liver is long, with a shortage of organs available. It can be even harder for children, because the liver has to be matched in size as well. 

Using a part of the liver from a healthy adult can reduce the wait time and save the lives of many children. At the Hillman Center for Pediatric Transplantation at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, we have been performing living-donor liver transplants since 1997, and our team of experts is one of the most experienced in the world.

What Is Living-Donor Liver Transplant?

The liver has a unique ability to regenerate, which allows us to use a small portion of an adult liver and transplant it into a child. The procedure requires about 20 to 25 percent of the liver from a healthy adult. The donor is able to live a healthy life with the remaining part, which regenerates within weeks. 

Children who receive a partial liver often do as well as children receiving a whole liver.

Why Choose UPMC Children's Hospital?

In addition to being one of a small number of transplant centers in the United States that performs the procedure, UPMC Children's has some of the best outcomes in the world. We have performed more pediatric liver transplants than any other center in the United States. Since the program's inception in 1981, we have performed more than 170 living-donor liver transplants and more than 1,900 pediatric liver transplants.

Children's is ranked best in the United States for pediatric liver transplant outcomes, according to January 2017 data released by the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients. When comparing hazard ratio estimates, Children's Pediatric Liver Transplant Program ranks as the best out of 62 pediatric liver transplant centers in the U.S. in one-year overall patient survival as well as one-year overall graft survival.

Of the 29 centers performing pediatric living-donor liver transplants, Children’s hazard ratio estimates also rank first in the nation in one-year patient and graft survival, as well as three-year patient and graft survival. 

We've also pioneered approaches to managing organ rejection, increasing recovery and survival. We offer a steroid-free simplified immunosuppresive regimen that helps boost a child's body image while reducing the risk of infection.

With our extensive experience in organ transplant, Children's has compassionate, knowledgeable professionals to work with patients, parents, family members, and donors throughout every step of the process.

Our comprehensive approach to care includes addressing the medical, emotional, and social needs of our patients and donors and their families. Transplantation is a lifelong journey, and we're committed to providing ongoing optimal care for our patients and their donors for a lifetime.

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Pediatric Liver Transplant Program