Taking a child home with a new liver can be very stressful. Your family may feel fear, anger, depression and guilt about the liver transplant. By sharing these feelings about the liver transplant, you may find it easier to cope with change. Our team is here to listen to your concerns and help you in any way that they can.
Talking to your child
Many children believe a liver transplant is caused by something they did, said or thought. Explain that what your child thinks, says and does will not cause his liver transplant. It is no one’s fault.
Talk to your child about his feelings. Let him know that any feeling is normal. Many times children feel angry, guilty, sad, lonely, scared and sometimes even happy. Be honest with your child about your feelings.
Medicines after transplant
After a liver transplant, your child will take medicines called immunosuppressants. These medicines are very important. They will help keep your child from rejecting his new liver and keep him in the best possible health.
Possible complications after transplant
Some children who receive a pediatric liver transplant have complications. Infection and rejection are two of the most common complications after a pediatric liver transplant. Your child’s liver transplant team will help you learn about the early signs of liver transplant complications. They can also discuss your child’s care and advise further treatment when needed.
- Rejection is a natural response of your child’s immune system. The immune system is the body’s defense against an “unknown” material such as viruses, bacteria and some types of cancers. Your child’s body treats a transplanted organ as an “unknown,” so it tries to reject the new liver.
- Your child is more likely to get an infection when taking immunosuppressants. The risk of infection is greatest in the first three to six months after a liver transplant.