Ten pediatric living donor liver transplants performed in 12 months at ISMETT

ISMETT among top centers in Europe for volume of activity

Ten children received a living donor liver transplant at IRCCS ISMETT over the last 12 months. This small but important milestone places the Institute in Palermo among the most active transplant centers in Europe for this type of surgery. All centers in Italy perform approximately 15 transplants every year. In Europe, only 6 centers perform an average of 10 or more pediatric living donor liver transplants every year.

The 10th living donor liver transplant pediatric recipient returned home today: a nine-month-old Romanian baby weighting 6 kilograms. The donor is his uncle. Since birth, the baby was suffering from bile duct atresia, a disease that causes the obstruction of biliary ducts, leading to end-stage liver failure in short time. When he arrived in Palermo, last February, the baby was weighing only 4 kg, only slightly more than his weight at birth. He had to undergo an intensive nutritional therapy to gain two kilos in two months. “Now the baby is fine. He and his uncle, who donated part of his liver, are both in good conditions. The uncle was discharged 8 days after the procedure and has returned to Romania. The baby spent a few weeks at ISMETT and will return home shortly,” said Prof. Jean de Ville de Goyet, Director of the Pediatric Abdominal Surgery at ISMETT.

ISMETT and Bambin Gesù Hospital in Rome are the most active centers in Italy. ISMETT launched its pediatric liver transplant program in 2008, but over the last 12 months the activity further intensified thanks to Prof. de Ville, appointed Director of Pediatric Abdominal Surgery about a year ago. Prof. de Ville is the surgeon who has performed the highest number of pediatric living donor liver transplants in Italy, also reporting the best survival rate. In Italy, close to 80 pediatric living donor transplants have been performed, of which 52 (65%) by Prof. de Ville. The survival rate of Prof. de Ville’s pediatric liver recipients (51 children in 7 years) is 100%.

“At present, living donation is an increasingly available option. It is an additional opportunity for children who otherwise would remain on the waiting list, putting their life in danger if a life-saving organ does not become available in time. Modern transplant techniques are becoming increasingly safe both for the donor and the recipient, allowing an almost 100% successful rate,” concluded Dr. de Ville.