During National Donate Life Month, McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine faculty member George Mazariegos, MD (pictured), director of Pediatric Transplantation at the Hillman Center for Pediatric Transplantation at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, reflected on the international effect of the center. Per hospital data, Children’s has achieved some of the nation’s highest patient survival rates among pediatric transplant centers. For example, the 3-year patient survival rate for liver transplantation at Children’s Hospital is 96 percent; the national average is 88 percent. The 3-year patient survival rate for intestine transplantation at Children’s Hospital is 91 percent; the national average is 66 percent. Children’s has performed more than 1,500 pediatric liver and intestine transplants, more than any other pediatric center in the world.
“It’s sometimes hard to fully comprehend the impact that Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh’s transplant surgeons have had over the last 27 years,” said Dr. Mazariegos. “Hundreds of patients with little hope as infants or toddlers are now young adults. Our program has expanded to offer operations for children who need intestinal transplant or multivisceral transplant procedures previously thought to have been impossible.”
Tracey Gonzalez was one such patient. Tracey was an extremely sick toddler in 1990 when her life was saved by a liver and intestine transplant at Children’s Hospital. She was Children’s — and the nation’s — first successful combined liver and intestine transplant. Today, Tracey is a vibrant 20-year-old who is attending college and even volunteers as a counselor at Children’s Hospital’s Camp Chihopi, an annual summer camp for organ transplant survivors.
Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC’s Hillman Center for Pediatric Transplantation has a rich history in the field of pediatric transplantation. From the early years when Thomas E. Starzl, MD, PhD, pioneered a new field of medicine, to recent progress in immunosuppressive therapies, these advancements have given hope to thousands of children.
Opening the nation’s first comprehensive pediatric transplant center in 1981, Children’s Hospital has continued to be a leader in improving solid organ transplantation. Over the years, Children’s has made great strides in developing and improving surgical techniques. New strategies have offered children improved opportunities for long-term survival and a normal quality of life.
Nationally, nearly 100,000 people are awaiting an organ transplant. Approximately 18 of them, including 6 children, die each day without receiving a transplant. One organ and tissue donor may help more than 50 people.
Illustration: McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC News Release (04/17/08)
Media Newswire (04/17/08)
Hillman Center for Pediatric Transplantation, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC