NewYork-Presbyterian is celebrating a milestone achievement as the Center for Liver Disease and Transplantation team recently performed its 500th pediatric liver transplant. Since the program began in 1998, it has become a national leader in the field; today, the center performs the most pediatric liver transplants in the northeast.
“We are proud of our multidisciplinary teams for their dedication to helping patients every step of the way in their transplant journeys,” says Dr. Tomoaki Kato, chief of the Division of Abdominal Organ Transplantation at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. “This notable achievement is a team effort and a testament to our leadership as innovators in this field, helping children when they most need it.”
Located at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital and NewYork-Presbyterian Komansky Children’s Hospital, the Center for Liver Disease and Transplantation is among the top five in the country for the number of transplants performed.
“We take care of some of the sickest patients who have been turned down by other centers,” says Dr. Steven Lobritto, medical director of pediatric liver transplantation at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. “I see my patients go from sick infants to strapping college graduates. I’ve seen them get married and have children; they’re fathers, mothers, athletes, doctors — and there’s nothing more rewarding than that.”
Over the past 25 years, NewYork-Presbyterian has pioneered advancements in liver transplantation, working to help expand the donor pool and transplant options for pediatric patients on the waiting list. Among the team’s innovations, the Living Donor Liver Transplant Program at NewYork-Presbyterian was the first center in the nation to offer fully laparoscopic living donor liver surgeries, allowing live donors to complete the donation process through less invasive procedures. The program is also part of a select group of centers participating in a liver paired exchange program.
In addition to living donation, multi-organ transplants, and leading efforts in split-liver transplantation (in which a single deceased donor liver is divided and given to two recipients simultaneously), the pediatric liver transplant team also treats all aspects of liver disease, including nontransplant cancer surgeries, and biliary and vascular reconstructions.
“We wouldn’t be able to accomplish a milestone like this without the great teamwork, innovation, and support that we have here,” says Dr. Mercedes Martinez, medical director of the Intestinal Transplant Program at the Center for Liver Disease and Abdominal Organ Transplantation at NewYork-Presbyterian. “I’m very proud to be part of this multidisciplinary team. It is incredibly rewarding to make a life-changing impact and help children lead healthy lives.”