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Pediatric Liver Transplant

Why choose Ochsner Health for your pediatric liver transplant?

Ochsner Children’s Hospital is home to the largest, most comprehensive pediatric liver transplant program in the region. We offer a range of liver transplant options with the goal of helping your child spend less time on the liver transplant waiting list and having the best chance at getting back to being healthy and active. 

Our team has performed more than 2,000 liver transplants, many in infants and children. 

Ochsner is a member of the Society of Pediatric Liver Transplantation, an organization with a goal of improving outcomes in children receiving liver transplants through research, improving care, training and mentoring, and supporting children and families. 

As the body’s second-largest organ, the liver helps the immune system. It removes toxins, creates substances that help the body function properly and stores resources that keep the body strong and healthy. When the liver fails to do its job, the results can be dangerous and even life-threatening. When medication and other therapies don’t work, your child may need a pediatric liver transplant.

Three of the most common conditions that might cause a child to need a liver transplant include:

  • Biliary atresia: Biliary atresia occurs when scarring blocks bile from passing into the intestine. It builds up in the liver and causes liver damage. The liver produces bile, which helps digest food. Bile ducts carry this substance where it needs to be.
  • Liver-based metabolic conditions: A dysfunctional liver affects a child’s metabolism. Over time, it may cause issues with the kidneys or other organs.
  • Genetic cholestasis syndromes: This in an inherited condition that causes bile to build up. It may result in end-stage liver disease.

Less commonly, a liver transplant may help children with the following:

  • Acute liver failure: This is a rare condition, often with no known cause, in which the liver fails to work.

  • Cystic fibrosis: This condition causes the body to produce a thick and sticky mucus that can cause problems for various organs.

  • Liver tumor: This could be caused by liver cancer. Transplantation is helpful when liver cancer cannot be surgically removed safely.

Pediatric liver transplants can be accomplished a number of different ways depending on your child's needs. No matter what type of liver transplant your child needs, the Ochsner team has experience and expertise to perform the procedure.

Pediatric liver transplant options include:

  • Whole liver transplant: The surgeon transplants a whole donor liver to the patient.

  • Split liver transplant: A donated liver gets divided into two parts. The smaller part gets used for the pediatric patient, and the larger section may be transplanted into an adult.

  • Living donors: Part of a living person’s liver is removed and transplanted to a child. The liver section remaining in the donor, along with the pediatric recipient’s liver, both grow to proper size over time.

  • Cadaveric donors: The liver is removed for transplant following the donor’s death.

Undergoing pediatric liver transplant is a life-changing event for the entire family. It affects physical, mental and financial health. To address these areas, Ochsner surrounds transplant families with a host of support services and programs.

A few of these include:

  • Access to Brent House Hotel, located on Ochsner Medical Center's campus to allow quick access to Ochsner for pre- and post-transplant needs

  • Child-life specialists who are specially trained to identify and manage a range of pediatric issues revolving around illness and hospitalization

  • Specialized support navigating the transplant process, provided by dedicated pediatric transplant social workers

  • Ongoing mental health care delivered by transplant psychologists

If your child has a pediatric liver transplant at Ochsner, you’ll interact with a team of pediatric specialists from various departments. Each specialist brings a unique area of expertise and works to ensure your child has a positive transplant experience.

Members of your child’s team may include:

Pediatric patients may be able to meet with their transplant team virtually for some appointments.

Done on a smartphone, tablet or computer, virtual visits may be used for pre-transplant screenings, education and help accessing resources to make the transplant journey smoother. Virtual visits are also available for some post-transplant checkups.

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Map of Ochsner-affiliated facilities that provide services related to Pediatric Liver Transplant

Pediatric Liver Transplant Locations

Ochsner Medical Center – New Orleans
1514 Jefferson Highway
New Orleans, LA 70121
  • Open 24/7
Ochsner Children's Hospital
1514 Jefferson Highway
New Orleans, LA 70121
  • Open 24/7