Over the past 5 years, we have employed several strategies to increase the donor pool for both the pediatric and adult populations. The innovative expansion of the donor pool with the use living-related donors for children and cadaveric, high-risk donors for adults has increased our ability to serve our recipients and transplant them at an earlier stage in the disease process, thereby improving survival. As Hepatitis C is now the leading indication for liver transplantation in the adult population, the investigation of the natural history of Hepatitis C prior to and after transplantation provides a major challenge and is currently a focus of both laboratory and clinical efforts. For those recipients of Hepatitis C-positive-donor livers, determining the role of recipient and donor genotypes in the progression of recurrent hepatitis should help define the proper utilization of these organs. For patients on CsA-based immunosuppression regimens who experience steroid-resistant rejection, tacrolimus has proved to be extremely effective in reversing the rejection episodes and maintaining normal graft function. The long-term results of this therapy appear to be superior to OKT3 therapy. The recipients of living-related liver transplantation continue to have a survival advantage in comparison to recipients of cadaveric grafts. The donor operation can be routinely performed with minimal risk. Because of the superior results achieved and minimal donor risks, we feel that providing the option of living-donor transplantation is ethically justified, and medically necessary. Despite the encouraging results from living-donor transplantation, unexpected complications including portal vein complications and hepatic artery thrombosis have forced technical modifications of the original technique which may have implications to pediatric liver transplantation in general. As the volume of pediatric liver transplants and the number of immmunosuppressive regimens have increased over the years, posttransplant lymphoproliferative disease has been identified as a problem which requires more inspection. We have determined that the severity of rejection and the subsequent treatment, and primary Epstein-Barr virus are the primary risk factors for developing of PTLD. Identification of the risk factors and early detection may provide some hope for treatment of the disease while allowing long-term graft function. Results of our preliminary data show that, following transplantation, 3/4 of the children or parents report minimal impairment with regard to developmental or physical milestones. Patients and their families, however, continue to report significant levels of stress in their lives and occasional pain. Further research on outcome needs to be performed on our pediatric recipients to ensure the long-term benefit of our efforts.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||11|
|State||Published - Jan 1 1995|
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