At UCLA, we provide continuity of care for children who need an intestinal transplant, from the first days of life through the transition to adult care. We have performed one of the largest volumes of intestinal transplants in the U.S. and the world.
We take good care of your child, whether in the early stages of intestinal rehabilitation and care or preparing for transplant.
Highly Specialized Expertise in Pediatric Intestinal Transplant
Our intestinal failure care begins long before transplant. Working hand-in-hand through what can be a long process, we provide treatment that meets all of your child's needs. We offer:
- Family-centered approach: The medical and other needs of a child receiving an intestinal transplant go far beyond transplant issues. We engage the whole family and the child's life outside the hospital - from social issues to eating to medication management and more.
- Personal attention: Before, during and after intestinal transplant, our team offers individualized treatment, along with unmatched surgical expertise. Learn more about what to expect from our patient education.
- Outstanding outcomes combined with personal care: Intestinal transplantation at UCLA offers state-of-the-art care from world-renowned transplant experts, resulting in consistently excellent outcomes.
- Range of intestinal rehabilitation and care: We explore every avenue of rehabilitation and treatment for children who have short bowel syndrome, short gut syndrome or other conditions that cause intestinal failure. Read more about our intestinal rehabilitation and care.
- Multi-organ transplant: In some patients, intestinal failure creates the need for other organ transplants, such as pediatric liver transplant. Our liver transplant physicians are among the world's most experienced, with more than 1,000 liver transplants performed in children.
- Convenient appointments: We try to make evaluation and appointments as thorough and convenient as possible. From evaluation through discharge, we routinely make a range of experts available to you, from surgeons to nutrition specialists.
- Rehabilitation and follow-up: Our rehabilitation and follow-up protocols are extensive. We provide rehabilitation care in our facilities, where you will work with the same team throughout the recovery process.
Eligibility for Pediatric Intestinal Transplant
Pediatric intestinal transplant is a therapy for patients with intestinal failure due to injury or disease, including short bowel syndrome (also known as short gut syndrome).
To become a candidate for an intestinal transplantation:
- A patient must have intestinal failure.
- Physicians must expect that the patient's remaining intestine will not adapt.
- The patient must have developed one or more life-threatening complications related to TPN (total parenteral nutrition). These conditions may include:
- Liver disease
- Central venous catheter (CVC) infections
- Loss of CVC sites
- Major fluid and electrolyte imbalances
Patients who are doing well on TPN are not candidates for intestinal transplantation. Intestinal transplant is considered only when the risks from TPN exceed those of transplantation.
Intestinal Transplant Care for Children: What to Expect
We realize intestinal failure is a complicated prospect for children and their families. UCLA has unique expertise to support patients as they grow, through intestinal rehabilitation and care to intestinal transplant and beyond. Our approach includes:
- Coordinated care plan: Our team works with you and your family to develop a care plan that addresses every aspect of your lives. We will discuss your child's development and school issues, family members' employment challenges, and more. We believe addressing care with a 360-degree evaluation of the child in the context of the family is key to preparing for intestinal rehabilitation or transplant.
- Seamless transition to adult care: Because our UCLA facilities span both pediatric and adult hospitals, we provide a seamless transition to adult care. Many of the same people will care for your child during the transition to the teen years and through adulthood.
- Understanding psychological aspects: One of the most important outcomes of intestinal rehabilitation and care is being able to eat without intestinal failure getting in the way. Even with a new intestine, learning to eat can be difficult. Our team brings strong knowledge and awareness of the psychological aspects involved, to support a more successful transition.
- Unique rehabilitation needs: After an intestinal transplant, children often need help returning to normal life. Challenges may include school attendance, learning needs, scars, surgically created openings for waste (ostomies) and feeling different than peers. Our entire medical team, from surgeons to social workers, understands and supports this process - from deciding the best times for follow-up procedures to developing a medication schedule that fits into daily life.