Recovery After Liver Transplant

Healing from a liver transplant is different for each child. Your family's need for advice and support from your transplant team will vary over time.

UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh knows your child's successful recovery after liver transplant surgery extends well beyond the hospital stay. The goal of the transplant team is to empower you to care for your child after their transplant. 

Contact the Liver Transplant Program at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh

To make an appointment or request a consult to discuss your child's liver condition, call 412-692-6110, option #1.

Getting Ready to Go Home After Liver Transplant

Preparing to go home starts from the time your child enters the hospital for their liver transplant.

During your time with us, you'll get to know your child's transplant coordinator or nurse.

This person is your go-to source for information and support for your family during the transplant process.

We can help you with:

  • Home care issues.
  • Medication questions and refills.
  • Any general questions or concerns.
  • Planning a follow-up routine care schedule that meets your child's needs.
  • Talking with your child's doctor at home.

Don't hesitate to call at any time, for any reason. We're here for you 24 hours a day in case of an emergency.

Before you and your child leave the hospital

We'll spend many hours with you during your child's stay to make sure you have all you need to know.

This includes things like:

  • Giving your child their daily meds to prevent rejection of their new organ.
  • Watching for signs of infection.
  • Knowing signs of organ rejection.
  • Using any medical equipment you'll need at home.

Before you leave, we'll give you:

  • A medication plan.
  • A detailed home health care plan.
  • Phone numbers to call with questions or emergencies.

After Discharge From UPMC Children's Hospital

Staying in Pittsburgh after your child's liver transplant

After your child leaves the hospital, you'll need to stay in the Pittsburgh area for about a month.

The exact length of time depends on your child's health and how they're healing from their liver transplant.

Your child's liver transplant aftercare

Your child will visit the transplant clinic as an outpatient.

These routine clinic visits let us check the function of your child's new organ so they can detect any problems quickly. They're also a chance for you to ask any questions.

At each clinic visit, the care team will:

  • Check your child's weight and blood pressure.
  • Perform a physical exam and make sure your child's incisions are healing properly.
  • Look for any signs of rejection, infection, and side effects from medication.
  • Draw blood to measure your child's liver and kidney function, as well as their blood count.

Sometimes, the doctor may perform more tests such as:

  • Ultrasound to check for bleeding, blocked blood vessels to the new liver, or bile duct blocks or leaks.
  • Biopsy to confirm a diagnosis of liver rejection.

Your care team will review your child's medication at each clinic visit.

Although your child will likely take immunosuppressants for the rest of their life, the doctor may change the doses.

Talk to your doctor about any problems or side effects your child is having.

If your child's blood results show a problem, we may contact you to alter the doses of their medications. Or we may arrange for your child to come back to the hospital for further tests or treatment.

Your child will need follow-up care for the rest of their life.

But visits will become fewer and further apart as they get better. How often will depend on their rate of recovery and how far you live from Pittsburgh.

Your Child's Care at Home After Liver Transplant

Once you return home, your child will go back to seeing their personal doctor for routine care.

Be cautious of new medicines

Make sure any doctor prescribing new medicine for your child is aware of their current medications. Some drugs may interfere with their immunosuppressants.

If you're buying any over-the-counter drugs, check with the pharmacist to make sure they're safe for your child.

This also includes alternative medicines. Some herbal and homeopathic remedies have ingredients that can interact with your child's medication.

If in doubt, contact a member of your transplant team for advice.