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Despite medical advances, children receiving liver transplants wait longer than a decade ago

A new study on children undergoing liver transplants found that although innovative transplant techniques have been developed in recent years, the waitlist times for pediatric transplant candidates have increased compared to the early 1990s. In addition, although waitlist deaths have decreased for children overall, they have remained essentially the same for infants.

The results of this study appear in the April 2006 issue of Liver Transplantation, the official journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) and the International Liver Transplantation Society (ILTS). The journal is published on behalf of the societies by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and is available online via Wiley InterScience at http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/livertransplantation.

Beginning with the first successful liver transplant in 1967, pediatric transplantation has played a major role in developing new techniques for successful liver transplants. Following the introduction of the immunosuppressant cyclosporine in 1980, multiple transplant centers were established worldwide in the 1980s and long-term survival has continued to increase since then. However, due to the nature of childhood liver disease, infants and toddlers are more commonly transplant candidates than older children, and a shortage of appropriate sized livers has translated into a mortality rate as high as 40 percent for young patients awaiting transplant. Splitting one liver into two smaller grafts, utilizing techniques for reducing an adult-sized liver, developing living donor transplants, and employing novel microsurgery techniques are the latest options available to pediatric patients. The current study compared the profile of these patients in the early 1990s to more recent liver transplant patients.

Led by Sandy Feng, M.D., Ph.D., of the Department of Surgery at the University of Californ
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Contact: David Greenberg
dgreenbe@wiley.com
201-748-6484
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
4-Apr-2006


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