A liver transplant is considered when a patient has reached the state of end-stage liver failure. Failure of the liver can happen suddenly, either due to an infection or due to particular medications or from a long-term medical problem. Liver failure is known to occur due to the following reasons:
Liver transplantation is very successful in treating children with end-stage liver disease, and enables a long healthy life. Organ scarcity is the main limitation to the full exploitation of transplantation, and it is being overcome thanks to innovative surgical techniques. Children of all ages, even the youngest, today have the chance of being transplanted, with almost no waiting list mortality. Split-liver and living-donor transplantation have contributed to reversing a situation in which, during the 1980s and 90s, children had higher waiting list mortality compared to that of adult patients.
Several years ago, the main focus of care of children with end-stage liver disease was to find a liver transplant, but today, the main interest is in long-term follow-up, with prevention of immunosuppression-related complications and promotion of as normal growth as possible. The history of pediatric liver transplantation has clearly shown that success is dependent on strict and integrated collaboration between referring pediatricians, pediatric transplant hepatologists, transplant surgeons, nurses, transplant coordinators, psychologists and social workers.