Pediatric Liver Transplant Frequently Asked Questions

Pediatric Transplantation

Pediatric Liver Transplant Frequently Asked Questions

Information For Parents From Kids Health

When Your Child Needs a Liver Transplant

Pediatric transplant at the University of Wisconsin began in 1967 and since then our pediatric surgical staff has performed more than 380 organ transplants for children. The following is a list of frequently asked questions about pediatric liver transplant at American Family Children's Hospital and the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics in Madison, Wisconsin.
Who is a candidate for liver transplantation?
Children who suffer from end-stage liver disease from varying causes may be considered for liver transplantation.
How is it decided that my child needs a liver transplant?
Eligibility is determined by medical and social evaluation.
How long is the waiting time?
The severity of the child's disease will determine the average waiting time.
What are the expected outcomes for my child's transplant?
The UW's patient outcomes are excellent compared to national outcomes. 
Do you have a living liver donor program?
Yes. Eligibility for this program will be discussed at the time of the child's evaluation.
Do you have an age limit?
The age limit is individualized as it varies with a patient's overall health condition. However, it is rare to not offer liver transplant to children. Unlike kidney transplant, children do not have to reach a minimum weight or age to undergo liver transplant evaluation or transplantation. 
When will my child be listed for liver transplant, if it is decided that my child would benefit from one?
Listing for liver transplant will take place after thorough testing is done, results retrieved and evaluated, and it is determined that the benefits outweigh the risks. Your insurance company is then contacted for eligibility of payment. After this is secured, your child will be listed.
If I am interested in your program, what is my first step and what can I expect?
Your local doctor can call our office at (608) 263-9531 to set up an appointment. The day of your appointment, you and your child will meet with a liver transplant specialist, liver transplant surgeon, social worker, clinical and financial coordinators. The average evaluation takes five to six hours. When going through the transplant process, a Clinical Transplant Coordinator is assigned to you who will assist you throughout the entire process.

Will my insurance cover my transplant? How much?
UW Health has contracts with many insurance providers, Medicare and Wisconsin Medicaid. You need to contact your insurance company to find out your coverage for the costs of your child's transplant surgery. After contacting your insurance company, if you still have questions, you may call (608) 263-1503 and ask for one of our transplant financial counselors to assist you.