Pediatric Liver Transplantation Program
Lurie Children’s has one of the largest and most experienced pediatric liver transplant surgery teams in the country. We provide family-centered care, which means the entire family is involved in the patient’s treatment plan. We use a multidisciplinary team to plan your child’s treatment so that your child gets the most comprehensive care possible. Our team members are from various healthcare specialties, and they bring a variety of experiences to the program. They will all consider your child’s treatment and use their combined perspectives to create a holistic care plan that focuses on the whole person.
Our surgeons have pioneered transplant techniques that many surgeons now use, including the surgical techniques needed for living donor transplants. Our program is a leader is providing split liver and reduced size liver transplants, surgical techniques that allow small children to receive a liver faster by expanding the donor pool. 69% of the liver transplants in the past year at Lurie Children’s have been split or reduced size liver transplants, which is more than double the national percent of 30% of pediatric liver transplants.
Our program puts a unique emphasis on long-term follow-up care. Patients in our program can ask team members questions until they reach adulthood.
We also have a strong commitment to research dedicated to improving the health of children with severe liver disease.
Conditions We Treat
Our liver transplant surgery program is the regional referral center for biliary atresia (the most common reason why children need a liver transplant) and acute liver failure, which is a rapid loss of liver function. We are also known around the world for our work in treating childhood portal hypertension, which is a rare condition of high pressure in the portal vein, the blood vessel that brings the blood from the intestines to the liver.
Learn more about conditions that can lead to liver transplants:
What to Expect
A liver transplant is recommended when a child with serious liver disease will not be able to live without having part or all of the liver replaced. (Partial liver transplant is possible because the liver is the only organ in the body able to regenerate or rebuild itself.).
Lurie Children’s Liver Transplantation Program offers innovative treatments, including:
- Split-liver transplant: Two recipients receive parts of one donor liver.
- Reduced-size liver transplant: Part of a larger donor’s liver goes to a smaller recipient.
- Living donor liver transplant: A recipient receives part of a liver from a living person.
- Immunosuppression withdrawal: Medically stable patients may be able to reduce or eliminate the need for immune-suppressing drugs, traditionally given for a lifetime to prevent organ rejection after transplant.
The first evaluation with the liver transplant team may include:
- Physical exam and health history
- Psychosocial (mental and emotional health) assessment
- Imaging and lab tests as needed
- Financial needs assessment
- Education on liver transplant
After consulting each other, the team will decide if a liver transplant is suitable for your child. If so, we’ll provide support and education through all steps of the transplant process and beyond.
Our physicians’ expertise has helped establish Lurie Children’s as a world leader in liver transplantation.
Our transplant team includes:
- Pediatric liver doctors (pediatric hepatologists)
- Pediatric transplant surgeons
- Pediatric nurse practitioners and nurses
- Social workers
- Child life specialists
- Parent to parent coordinators
- Transplant financial coordinators
The program’s surgical director, Riccardo Superina, MD, is a board certified surgeon who specializes in pediatric transplant surgery. He is internationally recognized for advancing pediatric surgery of the digestive system. The medical director of the program, Catherine Chapin, MD, is a board certified pediatric transplant hepatologist, with a specific research interest in pediatric acute liver failure.
For more information, please call 1.800.543.7362 (1.800.KIDS DOC®).
Traveling from out-of-state? Our Destination Services team is available to help make your experience at Lurie Children's go as smoothly as possible. Learn more.
Transplant Remote Consultations & Second Opinions
Whether you anticipate your child needing an organ transplant in the future, interested in multiple listing for organ transplant, or would like a second opinion on post-transplant care, the transplant remote consultation and second opinion program can help.
Our transplant providers are available for an initial consultation to review your care, explain our transplant process, and provide second opinions of post transplant care treatment plans before deciding if traveling to Lurie Children’s would be the right choice for you.
Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago
225 E. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60611
Resources & Support
Visit the following helpful and physician-recommended websites to learn more about liver transplantation.
The Siragusa Transplant Center is a national pediatric research center demonstrating Lurie Children’s long-standing dedication to pediatric research. The physician-researchers on our staff have pioneered influential new methods of studying pediatric liver disease and transplantation and receive substantial funding from the National Institutes of Health.