During the last 10 to 15 years, medical and surgical innovations have established
pediatric liver transplants as the optimal therapy for children suffering acute and chronic liver disease.
Dr Sandy Feng and colleagues from San Fransisco investigated current pediatric liver transplant recipients.
The research team hypothesized that the profile of current pediatric liver transplant recipients would differ significantly from that of an earlier era.
The researchers collected and compared data regarding the characteristics of children undergoing liver transplantation alone in 2 eras.
The groups of children were separated by more than a decade from the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network/United Network for Organ Sharing database.
Transplant recipients from 2002 to 2004 were compared to those from 1990 to 1992.
|There has been a major shift to using partial grafts from deceased and living donors|
The recipients from the later era tended to be more evenly distributed across age, race/ethnicity, and disease etiology.
The team found a major shift toward utilization of partial grafts from both deceased and living donors.
This shift occurred to achieve transplants for the youngest children in particular.
However, the team noted only a modest increase in demand for pediatric liver transplantation.
The researchers also observed that wait list times for both pediatric candidates and recipients have still increased between eras.
Dr Feng's team commented, “The sobering reality that mortality on the waiting list remains highest for the youngest pediatric liver candidates frames our challenge for the next decade.”