Pediatric transplant hepatology is a medical specialty that treats children who receive liver transplants. Pediatric transplant hepatologists provide care throughout the liver transplant process and also monitor and manage children's liver disease symptoms. Pediatric transplant hepatologists are physicians with expertise in pediatric gastroenterology (care of children's digestive systems) as well as liver disease and transplant medicine.
Once a patient is identified as a liver transplant candidate, pediatric transplant hepatologists begin medical preparations for the patient to improve transplant outcomes. Following transplant surgery, pediatric transplant hepatologists treat patients to reduce infection, rejection, and other transplant risks. Pediatric transplant hepatologists may see patients with the following conditions:
Pediatric transplant hepatologists can diagnose liver disease by liver biopsies (tissue samples) and imaging tests such as CT or MRI scans. They can assess patients' eligibility for a liver transplant and determine the progression of their liver disease. Pediatric transplant hepatologists may also participate in the selection of a compatible living donor.
Pediatric transplant hepatologists can prescribe patients pre-transplant supplements (such as nutrition through a feeding tube) and oral medications for ascites (accumulated fluid). Immunosuppressants (anti-rejection medicines), antibiotics, and incision wound care are frequent post-transplant treatments. Pediatric transplant hepatologists monitor patients throughout their recovery period and educate caregivers about home care.
Pediatric transplant hepatologists may coordinate treatment with pediatric liver specialists, pediatric radiologists, pediatric transplant surgeons, pediatric psychologists, pediatric nurses, dietitians, and child-life specialists.