Skip to Main Content

Liver Transplant Program

The Pediatric Liver Transplant Program is one of the nation's leading liver transplant centers. We helped pioneer techniques that have made transplantation safer and more successful and are at the forefront of research to improve the survival and long-term quality of life for transplant recipients.

We know organ transplantation can be a stressful journey. Our patient care navigators will help guide you and your family through the process and connect you with the specialists you need. Together, we provide expert care every step of the way, from diagnosing and managing your child's illness to negotiating the wait for a donor, and from surgery through post-transplantation care.

Expertise

Our center is one of the longest-running liver transplant programs in the U.S. We've performed more than 4,500 liver transplants in adults and children, with survival rates that are among the country's best.

We were among the first in the nation to perform liver transplants using live donors and now have one of the largest such programs in the country — earning us a center of excellence designation from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The center's multidisciplinary team of experts includes transplant surgeons, gastroenterologists, hepatologists, infectious disease physicians, anesthesiologists and pharmacologists, as well as nurses, social workers and other support staff. With more than half of our transplant patients under the age of 2, we are experienced with the youngest of patients.

Continue Reading

Wait times

Our team advocates for patients and their families in partnership with national and international transplant organizations, providing education and support throughout the wait for a new liver.

When possible, we use techniques that enable children to receive transplants more quickly and safely than at other institutions, such as split-liver transplants (dividing a donor liver between two recipients) and living donor transplants. This not only reduces the wait time for a liver, but also increases the chances that the transplant will succeed.
As a result, our patients spend less time waiting for a new liver and enjoy higher survival rates while on the waitlist than the national averages. Using a living donor also improves the chances that the transplant will succeed.

Survival and outcomes

Our survival rates are consistently among the highest in the country, even though we treat some of the most seriously ill patients. Children who receive a conventional liver transplant (from a deceased donor) at UCSF have a survival rate of 95 percent one year after transplant and 92 percent three years after transplant.

The rates are even higher in those who receive livers from living donors, with a 100 percent survival rate for both patients and the transplanted livers three years after transplantation. Our program also has one of the lowest retransplantation rates (the percentage of patients who need a second transplant) in the country.

*More outcome data is available from the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients and from the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network.

Post-transplant care

Our care doesn't end with surgical recovery. With expertise in managing the immune-suppressing medications patients take after transplant (to prevent the body from rejecting the new liver), we work to minimize or even eliminate the need for these drugs over the long term.

We monitor both the function of the transplanted liver and our patients' overall growth and development throughout their childhood and into early adulthood.

Clinical trials and research

The UCSF pediatric liver transplant team leads numerous clinical trials and other research projects that aim to improve the care, long-term health and quality of life for children with chronic liver conditions, including those receiving liver transplants. To learn more, see our research initiatives below.

 

Our locations (5)

    Awards & recognition

    • Ranked among the nation's best in 10 specialties

    • Best in Northern California for gastroenterology & GI surgery

    Decorative Caduceus

    Sponsor-Initiated OCS Liver Perfusion (OLP-II) Registry

    1-year patient survival with the originally transplanted liver (patient and graft survival) post-liver transplant.

    Recruiting

    More about this study
    Decorative Caduceus

    HEalth Advocate for Liver Transplant - Pilot

    The investigators will administer a survey of caregiver experiences at study enrollment and at the end of the intervention to assess for changes in caregiver experience with the transplant team. These questions will focus on exper...

    Recruiting

    More about this study
    Decorative Caduceus

    Social & Contextual Impact on Children Undergoing Liver Transplantation

    Recruiting

    More about this study
    See all clinical trials

    Patient stories

    Children with biliary atresia thrive after transplants

    Two mothers became living donors for their babies, Sahej and Frankie, who were diagnosed with a life-threatening liver condition shortly after birth. Both are now thriving.

    Plan your visit

    Preparing for your appointment

    What to Bring

    • Photo I.D.
    • Health insurance card
    • Insurance authorization, if required
    • Doctor's referral, if required
    • Recent test results related to your child's condition
    • List of medications, including dosages, plus any your child is allergic to
    • List of questions you may have
    • Device or paper for taking notes

    For visitors

    Before you head to the hospital, check out our guidelines for visitors and caregivers.

    your-stay-2x

    Your Stay

    We offer valuable information to help you plan for your child's upcoming hospital stay. Find out about food services, family accommodations and more.

    Learn more
    your-childs-care-team-2x

    Your Child's Care Team

    Our doctors, nurses, child life specialists and other providers have special training to care for children. Meet your child's care team.

    Learn more
    interpreters-2x

    Interpreter Services & Communication Assistance

    Interpreter services in many languages and TDDs are available for families that need help communicating with care teams. Here's how to access them.

    Learn more

    Support services

    Child Life Services

    Activity rooms, pet therapy and more to help kids feel at home.

    Child Life

    Certified child life specialists ease the stress and anxiety of childhood illness through therapeutic play, schooling and family-focused support.

    Family Amenities

    Family-friendly amenities help you relax and take care of yourself while staying close to your child. We offer lounges, kitchens, showers, breastfeeding rooms and more.

    social-services-2x

    Social Services

    Social workers ease the effect of illness, injury and hospitalization on your family with counseling and assistance to help you navigate the challenges.

    activity-rooms-2x

    Activity Rooms

    Activity rooms offer a relaxed environment for children of all ages. Features include a playroom, digital arts studio and teen lounge. Find out more.

    art-therapy-program-2x

    Art Therapy

    Art therapy helps kids and families express themselves, making it easier to cope with pediatric health issues. Group and bedside services are available.

    music-program-2x

    Music Therapy Program

    Board-certified music therapists help kids cope with illness and the feelings that come with it. Find out about group activities and bedside therapy.

    school-program-2x

    School Program

    Our schoolroom services and individual learning programs help children hospitalized at UCSF continue their education and get ready to return to school.

    school-re-entry-program-2x

    School Re-Entry Program

    We help kids return to school after hospitalization by educating staff and students about their needs and recommending needed accommodations. Read more.

    individual-playtime-and-tutoring-2x

    Individual Playtime & Instruction

    If your child can't be around other kids for medical reasons, you can sign up for private sessions in our activity and school rooms. Find out how.

    interpreters-2x

    Interpreter Services & Communication Assistance

    Interpreter services in many languages and TDDs are available for families that need help communicating with care teams. Here's how to access them.

    Family Resource Center

    We help families cope with the challenges of childhood illness and hospitalization in a relaxing environment where parents can get a much-needed break.

    family-support-program-2x

    Parent Support Program

    Weekly activities, including knitting, scrapbooking, chair massage and more, help family caregivers get a much-needed break. Find out more.

    patient-relations-2x

    Patient Relations

    Patient relations reps and nursing supervisors are here to answer questions and address concerns. Learn about your rights, how to reach us and more.

    spiritual-care-2x

    Spiritual Care

    Chaplains help UCSF patients, families and staff cope with the spiritual and emotional challenges of childhood illness. Learn more.

    international-services-2x

    International Services

    If you're coming to UCSF from outside the U.S., we coordinate your child's appointments and provide other helpful services. Here's how to get started.

    Our research initiatives

    • ucsf-division-of-pediatric-gi-hepatology-and-nutrition-research-2x

      UCSF Division of Pediatric GI, Hepatology & Nutrition Research

    • ucsf-division-of-transplant-surgery-research-2x

      UCSF Division of Transplant Surgery Research

    Staff superheroes

    It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s a window washer! Dressed as a superhero to clean and brighten your day.

    Share