PHOENIX — In what is a first for the Valley in more than two decades, a 17-year-old girl from Glendale, Ariz., became the recipient of a pediatric liver transplant on Dec. 6, the result of collaboration between Phoenix Children's Hospital and Mayo Clinic in Arizona. It is also the first living donor pediatric liver transplant in the Valley.
The milestone surgery was all the more unique in that it was a living donor liver transplant, meaning that a donor offered to give up part of her liver to be transplanted into the recipient. Both the donor and the recipient livers will regenerate within a matter of weeks. The donor, a 35-year-old woman from Oklahoma, underwent comprehensive medical and psychological testing to be qualified as a match for the recipient. The donor is the godmother of the recipient, and has known her since she was born.
The first surgery began at Mayo Clinic Hospital at 7:30 a.m. when part of the donor's liver was removed in a 3½ hour procedure led by David Mulligan, M.D., Director, Transplant Center, Mayo Clinic in Arizona. The partial liver was put on ice and transported to Phoenix Children's Hospital, where it was transplanted into the recipient.
Pediatric liver transplants are primarily done when the child has primary liver disease that may progress to death, with the risk of death that outweighs the risk of transplantation.
The recipient's surgery was led by Winston Hewitt, M.D., liver transplant surgeon at Mayo Clinic and surgical director of the Phoenix Children's Hospital Pediatric Liver Transplant Program. Medical director of the program is Tamir Miloh, M.D., Phoenix Children's Hospital.
Both patients were reported to be doing well following the combined 8½ hour surgeries. The program marks the only such pediatric program in the Phoenix area for pediatric patients. Previously, patients had to travel to Tucson or out-of-state for the surgery.
Certification for the Phoenix Children's Hospital Pediatric Liver Transplant Program was granted by the United Network for Organ Sharing in March 2012, paving the way for the first such program in Arizona to provide an integrated, child-centered liver transplant program that takes place within a dedicated pediatric hospital.