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In conjunction with our Liver Disease Program, the Liver Transplant Program at Children's Wisconsin diagnoses and treats the full range of childhood liver conditions – many of which may ultimately require liver transplantation.
Alagille Syndrome is a genetic disorder that causes your child to have fewer bile ducts than normal in the liver. As a result, liver scarring occurs and other systems are affected – including heart, eye, kidney and skeletal. Children with Alagille syndrome also display specific, characteristic facial features.
Alagille syndrome care at Children's
We treat Alagille syndrome with a multi-faceted approach that involves good nutrition and monitoring liver function. In addition, our team helps children cope with the discomfort of jaundice-related itching and skin patches that Alagille can cause. If your child's Alagille Syndrome is serious enough, liver transplantation may be a consideration.
Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency
Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (AATD) is the most common genetic cause of liver disease in children. It can affect some children mildly and others more seriously. While many of those diagnosed AATD may not develop associated diseases, it can cause serious lung or liver disease, including inflammation and eventually cirrhosis.
Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency care at Children's
While there is no cure for AATD; our Liver Disease Clinic is dedicated to helping you and your child avoid complications. Among other treatments, we focus on a balanced, nutritious diet supplemented by multi-vitamins to help manage the disease. In severe cases, liver transplantation may required.
Autoimmune hepatitis is one of the most common causes of liver damage. Your child's immune system attacks his or her liver, causing swelling and the death of liver cells. If left untreated, it can result in cirrhosis and even liver failure.
Autoimmune hepatitis care at Children's
With treatment, you can control autoimmune hepatitis with medicines that help slow down your child's overactive immune system. At Children's, we work with you to monitor your child closely and help you manage any side effects from the medication. However, if the hepatitis causes significant damage, your child may need a liver transplant.
Biliary atresia is a rare, chronic and progressive liver problem found in infants. It occurs when your child's bile ducts are blocked. That means the bile can't exit the liver and the organ becomes damaged.
Biliary atresia care at Children's
While there is currently no cure for biliary atresia, Children's provides two surgical options that can improve your child's prognosis and quality of life. A Kasai portoenterostomy may allow the bile to drain into the intestinal tract, which could improve the health for your child. If the liver damage is worse, a transplant may be the best option.
A number of diseases can cause cirrhosis, which is major scarring of the liver. Once the scarring forms, the affected part of the liver no longer works properly, blocking proper blood flow.
Cirrhosis: cryptogenic-idiopathic care at Children's
Children with cirrhosis are treated in our state-of-the-art Liver Disease Program. While there is no cure for cirrhosis, our team does everything we can to stop it from progressing further. Our treatment plan depends on the underlying cause of your child's cirrhosis and may include medicine, surgery or even a liver transplant.
Hemochromatosis is a genetic disease that causes your child's body to absorb more iron from food than it can use. That extra iron is stored in the liver, heart and pancreas where it can act as a poison. The build-up can lead to cirrhosis, cancer and heart arrhythmias.
Hemochromatosis care at Children's
Treatment for hemochromatosis involves removing blood from your child's body in order to return iron levels back to normal. It's a simple, easy and effective treatment. We may also recommend dietary changes to help keep iron levels in check. However, if the liver damage has progressed significantly, your child may need a new liver.
In the simplest of terms, hepatomegaly means an enlarged liver. It can be a sign of a number of different liver conditions.
Hepatomegaly care at Children's
Treatment options for your child vary widely, depending on the underlying cause of the hepatomegaly. Our team performs exams and runs tests to identify the cause. Then we determine the best course of treatment for your child. If the liver damage is serious, treatment may involve a liver transplant.
Jaundice/cholestatic liver disease
Jaundice is an extremely common condition, seen in about half of all newborns. It is marked by a yellow coloring of the skin and usually goes away on its own. In some cases, however, it's a sign of more serious liver disease.
Jaundice/cholestatic liver disease care at Children's
Typically, we customize a course of treatment for your child's jaundice, depending on a number of factors, such as your child's age, health and medical history. Treatment options might include light therapy, blood transfusion, discontinuation of breast-feeding and treatment of underlying conditions. If the underlying condition causes serious liver damage, a liver transplant may be indicated.
Metabolic liver diseases, including:
Children may suffer from any number of diseases affecting metabolism, which is the way their bodies absorb energy from the food they eat. These diseases include maple syrup urine disease, methylmalonic academia, ornithine transcarbamylase deficiencies and glycogen storage disease. As one of your child's key areas for energy storage, the liver can be deeply affected.
Metabolic liver diseases care at Children's
At Children's, we can treat many metabolic diseases easily and effectively with diet or medicine. We partner closely with parents to help make those changes. In some cases, specialists in the genetics center and liver disease program may be involved. If liver damage is severe, a liver transplant might be required.
Total parenteral nutrition cholestasis
Some infants can't take in nutrients through their digestive tracts, so they require Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN) – complete nutrition delivered through an IV. Sometimes, this form of nutrition can damage the liver, causing cholestasis– the decrease in bile flow and drainage. If untreated, it can lead to cirrhosis and even liver failure.
Total parenteral nutrition cholestasis care at Children's
TPNC is a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning we need to rule out a number of other factors, which we do through a series of tests. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, the best way to treat the disease is feeding your child by mouth. In situations where that's not possible, our doctors will work with you to determine an individual approach to treatment. If the liver is damaged, a liver transplant may be the answer.
Hepatitis is a condition marked by inflammation of your child's liver. There are six main types of the virus: hepatitis A, B, C, D, E and G. Children often contract hepatitis from a virus and it can then be spread to others. In its most severe form, hepatitis can lead to liver failure.
Viral hepatitis care at Children's
As there are many causes of hepatitis, there are also many different approaches to treatment. Our team considers a number of factors – such as your child's age, health and medical history – before determining the best course of treatment. That might include rest, a healthy diet, medication, drug therapy or, in serious cases, liver transplantation.
Wilson's Disease is a rare genetic disease that causes your child to be unable to excrete excess copper from his or her system. The copper build-up can damage a number of organs, including the liver, and can lead to life-threatening conditions.
Wilson's disease care at Children's
Most commonly, Wilson's Disease is treated with a life-long course of medications that get rid of the excess copper and stop it from building up again. In some cases, liver damage is extensive enough to require a transplant.
For more information on the Pediatric Liver Transplant Program contact:
Janelle Rueter, RN, BSN, CCTC
Liver Transplant Coordinator