Pediatric Liver Transplant

The pediatric transplant program at University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital is one of the oldest and most respected in the world. Our team of specialists has performed more than 540 pediatric liver transplants since the program began in 1964.
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A liver transplant is a lifesaving option for many young patients with liver disease. The child’s medical condition and quality of life are factors that lead to the decision to remove a diseased or damaged liver and replace it with a healthy donor liver, either from a deceased donor or from a living donor. Many children with end-stage liver failure are candidates for transplant surgery. Biliary atresia is the most common reason for liver transplants in children.

Our Approach

The pediatric transplant program at University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital is one of the oldest and most respected in the world. Our team of specialists has performed more than 540 pediatric liver transplants since the program began in 1964. We made history in 1982 with a successful liver transplant for Jamie Fisk, who was 11 months old at the time and who has since become the world’s longest-living pediatric liver recipient. Her story led President Ronald Reagan to establish the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, which creates policy for organ allocation.

At University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, we are helping to make more donor livers available to children who need them. Under careful protocols based on the latest science, we use split-liver transplantation (which provides two recipients with liver from one donor), cross-blood types transplantation (using a donor liver of a different blood type than the recipient when available), and living liver donor program (an adult family member or friend can donate a piece of his or her liver to a child). Living donation, in particular, has many benefits for patients but the greatest is a shorter waiting time for transplant. Your child has access to the latest therapies through participation in our clinical trials.

Our physicians collaborate with our Pediatric Oncology team to provide advanced treatments for children with liver cancers (including hepatoblastoma and hepatocellular carcinoma). Our program has pioneered liver transplantation to treat children with metabolic liver diseases (including urea cycle defects, glycogen storage diseases, and organic acidemias). Our program also performs multi-organ transplants.

Research is underway on artificial liver support devices, and new treatments for childhood liver cancer. Our pioneering research has dramatically improved survival rates and post-transplant quality of life. Patients in our program benefit from collaborative care management and the expertise of our experienced team, which includes nationally renowned liver transplant surgeon Srinath Chinnakotla, MD, and board-certified pediatric hepatologists, Heli Bhatt, MBBS MPH, and Sarah Jane Schwarzenberg, MD.

Conditions We Treat

Locations that offer this treatment

Call your preferred location to schedule an appointment or submit an online request.