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Liver Transplant Program

The Pediatric Liver Transplant Program is one of the nation's leading liver transplant centers, known for excellent outcomes and for helping pioneer techniques that have made transplantation safer and more successful. This earned us a center of excellence designation from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. We care for young patients of all ages and sizes, from infants to young adults, and more than half of our pediatric liver transplant patients are younger than 2.

UCSF was among the first in the nation to perform liver transplants using living donors, and we now perform more of this type than any other program nationwide. 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.

Our main goal is to help our patients enjoy a normal life as soon as possible. To achieve this, we've assembled a team of specialists in transplant surgery, gastroenterology and hepatology, infectious disease, anesthesiology and pharmacology, as well as nurse coordinators, social workers, mental health professionals, nutritionists and financial counselors. We work closely with one another and with each family to achieve the best possible outcome for their child.

Our care doesn't end with the surgical recovery. We monitor both the function of the transplanted liver and our patients' overall growth and development throughout their childhood and into early adulthood. Most catch up on or accelerate their growth and go on to enjoy a normal quality of life. A number of our former patients are now grown up, with children of their own.

Download our new patient handbook (PDF).

Our outcomes

Children who receive liver transplants at UCSF Health have a survival rate of 95 percent one year after transplant and 90 percent five years after transplant, well above the national average. Among those who receive transplants from living donors, the three-year survival rate is 100 percent. Our program also has one of the lowest re-transplantation rates – the percentage of patients who need a second transplant – in the country.

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

Clinical trials and research

The UCSF pediatric liver transplant team leads numerous clinical trials and other research projects that aim to improve care, long-term health and quality of life for children with chronic liver conditions, including those receiving liver transplants. Our comprehensive research investigates all issues and needs related to pediatric liver disease, with studies ranging from those that assess promising new treatments to those that examine how social and environmental factors affect treatment outcomes. We are developing new ways of using technology to enhance care, as well as evaluating how best to help families navigate life after a liver transplant. Our team also advocates for patients and their families in partnership with national and international transplant organizations, providing education and support throughout the transplant journey.

Our locations (5)

    Awards & recognition

    • Ranked among the nation's best in 10 specialties

    • Best in Northern California for gastroenterology & GI surgery

    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

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    Your Stay

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    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.

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    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.

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    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

    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

    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

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


    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

    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

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


    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.


    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.


    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

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    Spiritual Care

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


    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

    Stress-free visits

    Accommodations. Admissions. Procedure prep. Get the info you need for smoother hospital stays.

    Prepare for your child's stay