Liver Disease Program
At Children's Wisconsin, our Liver Disease and Transplant Program provides comprehensive and compassionate care for kids. We have a strong track record in successfully managing both common and rare liver disorders.
To provide the most effective and comprehensive care for kids, our multi-disciplinary team of pediatric liver experts include hepatologists, nurse practitioners, dietitians, psychologists, social workers, pharmacists, radiologists, social workers and transplant surgeons. This team is led by Cara Mack.
We understand that a liver disease diagnosis can be stressful and challenging for families, and we work quickly to develop an accurate diagnosis and support your child and family with information, understanding and compassion. We use a team approach to provide education, support, and ongoing disease management.
Conditions we treat
- Alagille syndrome
- Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency
- Autoimmune hepatitis
- Biliary atresia
- Congenital hepatic fibrosis
- Elevated liver enzymes
- Jaundice/cholestatic liver diseases
- Liver tumors
- Metabolic liver diseases
- Glycogen storage disease
- Ornithine Transcarbamylase deficiencies
- Neonatal hemochromatosis
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)/nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)
- Progressive Familial Intrahepatic Cholestasis (PFIC)
- Total parenteral nutrition-induced cholestasis
- Wilson's disease
Our entire team has vast experience treating liver disorders. That includes nurses who specialize in liver disease, dietitians who frequently work with children who have liver disorders, social workers who can help navigate insurance and school issues, pharmacists who are knowledgeable of how liver disease affects the metabolism of medications and who can help manage any potential drug interactions, and radiologists who have special training.
Diagnosing and treating Liver Disease
We'll work together to create a customized treatment plan depending on your child's particular liver disorder. If your child's medical history and symptoms are consistent with liver disease, your child's doctor might use the following tests to confirm the diagnosis:
- Blood tests
- Abdominal ultrasound
- Fibroscan: Fibroscan is a non-invasive test that helps assess the health of your child's liver. Specifically, it uses ultrasound technology to determine the degree of fibrosis or scarring that may be present in the liver from various liver diseases or conditions. This information is then used by your child's gastroenterologist to individualize and optimize the treatment plan. For some patients, Fibroscan can replace liver biopsy.
We'll work together to create a customized treatment plan for your child. Depending on your child's particular liver disorder, it could include:
- Dietary management
- Nutritional supplementation
- Surgical treatments to repair bile ducts
- Liver transplant
In some cases, a liver transplant may be your child's best option. Children's Wisconsin is home to the largest pediatric liver transplant center in the state and is well known as a pioneer in the transplantation field, performing the state's first pediatric combined liver and heart transplant in 2012 and first pediatric in situ split liver transplant in 2013. We also work tirelessly to improve the outcome and experience for children with chronic liver disease through our continued advancements in research and clinical trials.
If your child requires a liver transplant, we'll work with your family to ensure optimal treatment before, during and after liver transplant. Our transplant services include initial evaluation, placement on the United Network for Organ Sharing list, the actual transplant and aftercare.
Our Child Life Program is an important resource that offers family support, pre-admission tours, medical play, and more.