IntroductionLiver transplant surgery, in children, is most commonly due to biliary atresia. Other conditions also require a liver transplant. Before surgery, a comprehensive health evaluation of the children is done.
Conditions Requiring Pediatric Liver TransplantLiver transplant surgery is the last option in the case of liver diseases. It is advised when other treatment fails to revive the liver functions. The most common disease requiring pediatric liver transplant is biliary atresia. It is the condition in infants characterized by blocking and scarring of the biliary duct. It results in liver damage. The other disease that results in liver transplantation includes:
- Liver cancer and liver tumor
- Wilson disease
- Alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency
- Sudden or acute liver failure due to medication toxicity or any other medical condition
- Familial hypercholesterolemia
- Alagille syndrome or cholestatic disorders
During this evaluation, the hepatologists will determine the severity of the liver disease. Based on the severity, the doctor will decide if the child requires liver transplant surgery, and within how much period the surgery should be done. During the evaluation phase, the queries of the patients regarding the diseases and the need for liver transplant is discussed.
Evaluation For Liver Transplant Requirement
Once it has been decided that the liver transplant is the best option to save the life of the child, the doctor will conduct a detailed evaluation to determine if the child is fit for the surgery. Following are some of the examinations performed:
Blood tests: The blood test of the child is done to determine the presence of any disease. The blood tests also help in finding the best match for the patient for donating the liver.
Diagnostic tests: The diagnostic test should be done through various techniques such as ultrasound, X-rays, and liver biopsy. These tests are done to determine the overall health of the patient.
Psychological evaluation: Psychological evaluation is done to determine if the child is mentally fit to take the stress of surgery. This is usually done on the older child.
Unfortunately, children with metastatic liver cancer, heart problems, chronic infection, and serious conditions other than liver disease are not suitable candidates for liver transplant surgery.