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About Sickkids
About SickKids

September 14, 2006

SickKids celebrates 20 years of liver transplantation

TORONTO – Staff and patient families from across the country today celebrated 20 years of clinical and research advances in liver transplantation at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids). Since 1986, the Liver Transplant Program at SickKids has performed over 275 transplants in children from across the country, establishing it as the largest paediatric liver transplant program in Canada.

SickKids performs on average 12 to 20 liver transplants a year. Each week in Canada several children are diagnosed with a liver disease. When the liver fails, transplantation is the only life-saving treatment available. Currently, there are 13 children aged five months to 17 years awaiting a liver transplant at SickKids. The wait time for a compatible deceased donor liver organ varies for these children with end-stage liver disease, from an infant who was listed last month, to a child who continues to wait almost five years later.

“Over the last 20 years, great advances have been made in liver transplantation,” says Dr. Vicky Ng, medical director of the Liver Transplant Program at SickKids. “At SickKids, we continue to build on these accomplishments with the common goal of improving the lives of children with end-stage liver disease.”

The SickKids Liver Transplant Program offers a comprehensive multi-disciplinary approach that focuses on family-centred post-transplant care to ensure not only the best survival rates, but also early recognition of medical complications arising from long-term immune suppression, as well as restoration of quality of life for the patient and the patient’s family.

The program strives to advance knowledge through education and research. Dr. Ng is leading an initiative with paediatric liver programs across Canada, Australia and Europe to develop a tool to better assess the emotional well-being of children who are post-liver transplantation. In addition, Dr. Annie Fecteau, the program’s transplant surgeon, is conducting a study comparing the perceptions, attitudes and beliefs of health-care workers, patients and their families about the risks of living-related donor liver transplants.

Backgrounder on the SickKids Liver Transplant Program:

  • SickKids liver transplant patients have an 87 per cent survival rate over a five-year period, among the best outcomes in North America for paediatric liver patients.
  • The most common reason why children require a liver transplant is for biliary atresia, a childhood liver disease that obstructs the proper flow of bile from the liver and results in irreversible liver damage.
  • Comprehensive post-transplant care is provided at SickKids by a multi-disciplinary team of paediatric gastroenterologists, liver transplant surgeons, nursing specialists, patient care coordinators, social workers, dietitians, occupational and physical therapists, pharmacists and psychiatrists.
  • The SickKids Liver Transplant Program has performed 28 living-related donor liver transplantations, in collaboration with Toronto General Hospital.
  • The Liver Transplant Program is part of SickKids’ Paediatric Academic Multi-Orgran Transplant program (PAMOT), which works collaboratively with the Multi-Organ Transplant program at the University of Toronto.

The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), affiliated with the University of Toronto, is Canada’s most research-intensive hospital and the largest centre dedicated to improving children’s health in the country. As innovators in child health, SickKids improves the health of children by integrating care, research and teaching. Our mission is to provide the best in complex and specialized care by creating scientific and clinical advancements, sharing our knowledge and expertise and championing the development of an accessible, comprehensive and sustainable child health system. For more information, please visit www.sickkids.ca. SickKids is committed to healthier children for a better world.

For more information, please contact:

Media Contact
Public Affairs
The Hospital for Sick Children
Phone: 416-813-6380
Fax: 416-813-5328