Deceased Donor Pediatric Liver Transplant Surgery

Step 1
When a donor liver is ready, the Children’s Liver Transplant coordinator will call you at home. If no one is home, you will be paged. Be sure to call us back as quickly as possible. We will advise you on when to get to the hospital.

Step 2
The Children’s Liver Transplant coordinator will tell you where to report. You will go either to admissions or to the Emergency department to check-in.

Step 3
Your child will be admitted and staff will direct you to your child’s room. He will be prepped for liver transplant surgery.

Step 4
The Children’s Liver Transplant team will do a medical review of your child in the next few hours that might include:

  • A complete history and physical exam.
  • A review of your child’s current medicines. Please have a complete list of all medicines your child is taking.
  • A review of any health problems that your child has had lately such as a sore throat, cold, peritonitis (infection of the fluid in the abdomen), ear infection, rashes, cold sores or contact with people who have infections.
  • A chest X-ray.

Note: If your child is sick or if an emergency situation arises, your child’s surgery may be canceled. 

Step 5
The pediatric-trained anesthesiologist will come to your child’s room to discuss his allergies and types of anesthesia. A pediatric anesthesiologist is a medical doctor who monitors your child during surgery. Anesthesia is medicine that allows your child to be in a deep sleep so he cannot see, hear or feel anything, not even pain.

Step 6
The pediatric-trained liver transplant surgeon will come and talk to you about your child’s surgery. You will be asked to sign a consent from for surgery after the pediatric liver transplant surgeon has explained the operation and its possible risks.

Step 7
The pediatric liver transplant surgery will take place.

  • The pediatric liver transplant surgery may take from four to 12 hours.
  • During the pediatric liver transplant surgery, there is a room for you and your family to wait.
  • The Children’s Liver Transplant coordinator, an operating room (OR) nurse or a child life specialist will give you updates about your child.
  • The pediatric liver transplant surgeon will talk to you after your child’s pediatric liver transplant surgery.
  • If you need to leave the hospital, please tell your child’s pediatric liver transplant coordinator. Be sure to leave a number where you can be reached.

Step 8
Immediately after liver transplant surgery, the child will go to the Children’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).

  • Your child will be sleepy from the anesthesia (a medicine that puts your child to sleep during surgery) for up to several days.
  • Your child will have IVs (tubes that deliver medicine through his veins) and a Foley catheter (a small, flexible tube that drains urine from the bladder) to measure his urine. The catheter will stay in place for several days to check his urine output.
  • Your child may stay in the Children’s PICU for two to three days.
  • The Children’s Liver Transplant team and the Children’s PICU staff will take care of your child after the liver transplant surgery.

Visitor Guidelines  

Step 9
After a few days, your child will be taken to a patient care area.

  • The nurses and staff will help your child recover and prepare him to go home.
  • Your child can usually go home about seven to 14 days after the liver transplant surgery.
  • The Children’s Liver Transplant coordinator and nursing staff will teach you how to care for your child at home.