Children's Hospital Colorado

The Pediatric Liver Transplant Program

A young toddler with brown hair and dressed in a pink cardigan with white polkadots is lying down and laughing.

The Liver Transplant Program at Children’s Hospital Colorado offers a unique and specialized program devoted to the care of children who require liver transplantation. Our unique multidisciplinary team cares for kids and families from the time of diagnosis to transplant and all the way through long-term post-transplant care.

We know that waiting isn’t easy

Our team understands the concerns and needs of families who are waiting for a transplant, and we strive to make the process as easy for you as possible. We coordinate with pediatricians and family doctors, referring gastroenterologists and insurance companies to address your child’s health needs both before and after transplant.

What disorders does Children’s Colorado treat with liver transplants?

There are a variety of indications for pediatric liver transplantation, including:

​​What to expect during your child’s visit to the Liver Transplant Program

The goal of your first visit is to assess the status of your child’s liver disease and to provide you with treatment options including, but not limited to pediatric liver transplantation. During the appointment, you and your child will see the following experts:

Why choose Children’s Colorado for your child’s liver transplant?

A nationally recognized Liver Transplant Program

As a nationally recognized Pediatric Transplant Program, Children’s Colorado has the only pediatric-focused multi-specialty liver transplant program in the Rocky Mountain region. Our team includes transplant surgeons, transplant hepatologists, pediatric transplant anesthesiologists, pediatric interventional radiologists, infectious disease specialists, pediatric intensive care specialists, transplant coordinators and nurses, transplant pharmacists, psychologists, dietitians and social workers.

One of only a few pediatric-focused liver transplant centers in the region

We are one of a select few pediatric liver transplant programs in the country with seven board-certified pediatric transplant hepatologists holding certifications of advanced qualification in transplant hepatology. Your child will be cared for by these experts and leaders in the field of pediatric liver care and transplantation.

We offer multiple liver transplant options

Based on your child’s type and stage of liver disease, the following different types of transplants may be available:

​​Services we offer

  • Liver transplant candidate evaluation
  • A pediatric transplant nurse coordinator will help you navigate through the transplant process with ease 
  • Support from a social worker (as needed)
  • Support from a psychologist who specializes in pediatric transplantation
  • Financial counseling
  • Laboratory testing
  • Radiologic imaging
  • Access to other pediatric medical specialties as needed
  • Support groups, annual patient gatherings and directed family educational events

Understanding pediatric liver transplant criteria

Since the very first liver transplant in the world was performed at the University of Colorado in 1963, our state has had a rich history in the field. Shikha Sundaram, MD, FAASLD, Medical Director of our Pediatric Liver Transplant Program, explains how the extremely high demand for liver transplants necessitates a meticulous evaluation process to ensure the highest success rates.

Watch the video to understand how Children’s Colorado uses a multidisciplinary team of specialists to evaluate patients and find the best matches between donors and recipients.

Pediatric liver transplant: weighing options and understanding factors

Colorado has become a national destination for pediatric liver transplants because of shorter wait times and a growing volume of non-directed live transplants. In this video, Michael Wachs, MD, Surgical Director of the Pediatric Liver Transplant Program, explains how Children’s Colorado is particularly well-suited to handle both local and national liver transplant patients.

Watch the video to learn about general deceased donations, live donations, the non-directed live donor program, wait times, outcomes, the importance of multidisciplinary care for complex conditions, and the strategic partnership that Children’s Colorado shares with Donor Alliance.

Looking for a second opinion?

Whether you’re still searching for a diagnosis or exploring treatment options for your child, we’re here to help. Learn how to request a second opinion from U.S. News and World Report’s #1 pediatric gastroenterology and gastrointestinal surgery program.

Request a second opinion from our Digestive Health Institute

Get to know our pediatric experts.

Michael Wachs, MD

Michael Wachs, MD

Surgery

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Fritz Karrer, MD

Fritz Karrer, MD

Pediatric Surgery, Surgery, Surgical Critical Care

Shikha Sundaram, MD

Shikha Sundaram, MD

Pediatric Gastroenterology, Pediatric Transplant Hepatology

Michael Narkewicz, MD

Michael Narkewicz, MD

Pediatric Gastroenterology, Pediatric Transplant Hepatology

Children's Colorado in the news

CBS News

Altruistic Organ Donor Meets Recipient

May 31, 2018

Manolo Gonzales had a life-threatening defect that was causing his liver to fail. Rebecca donated a portion of her liver not knowing who the recipient would be. The transplant changed Manolo's life.