Children’s Hospital Los Angeles has one of the country’s most active and experienced pediatric liver transplant programs. We help children get liver transplants faster, often before they become seriously ill. Our team’s liver transplant expertise gives your child an excellent chance for a long, healthy life.

We successfully performed our first liver transplant in a child in 1998. Since then, our transplant team has performed hundreds of pediatric liver transplants with excellent outcomes.

Liver Transplant Program: Why Choose Us

Children’s Hospital is a national and regional leader in pediatric liver transplants. We perform more procedures than most other children’s hospitals in the United States. We’re also one of a select few children’s hospitals in the country performing adult-to-child living donor liver transplants.

Children who come to CHLA for liver transplants benefit from:

  • Excellent liver transplant outcomes: We perform liver transplants to treat rare, complex conditions, as well as more common ones. Our liver transplant success rates are consistently high even for complicated cases.
  • Short wait times for donor livers: Our median wait time for a child to get a liver transplant is approximately 75 days. This is significantly shorter than the 13-month average national wait time and the 30-month average wait time at other regional children’s hospitals. Almost 7 in 10 of our patients receive a new liver during their first year on the transplant waitlist, which is higher than the national average.
  • Living donor liver transplants: One third of our donor livers come from living organ donors, such as family members and friends. We were also among the first programs in the world to transplant a liver from an anonymous living donor into a child. Learn more about our living donor liver transplant services.
  • Care for complex liver conditions: We care for children with common liver conditions such as biliary atresia, as well as rare, challenging-to-treat conditions including metabolic liver diseases and liver cancer. Other centers send young patients to us because we get excellent results for the most complicated cases. Learn more about the liver conditions we treat.
  • Liver transplant care for children of all ages: We have successfully performed liver transplants on infants as young as 3 weeks old and weighing about 6 pounds. We provide ongoing transplant care from infancy through young adulthood. Find out more about our liver transplant patient and family resources.
  • Range of liver transplant options: Our highly skilled transplant team specializes in all types of liver transplants, including multiple organs (such as liver and kidney transplants) and transfusion-free (bloodless) liver transplants. Learn more about the types of liver transplants we perform.
  • Advanced liver diagnosis and treatments: When necessary, we perform procedures to improve liver function as bridge to transplant until your child receives a donor liver. After transplant, the Enhanced Recovery After Liver Transplantation (ERAL) protocol, pioneered by CHLA doctors, promotes a faster recovery.

Does My Child Need a Liver Transplant?

Your child may need a liver transplant if they have a condition that causes their liver not to work as well as it should. The liver removes harmful substances from your child’s blood and stores a sugar called glycogen that gives them energy. The liver also makes a substance called bile that helps break down fats in food.

Liver conditions may be present at birth (congenital) or develop later in life (acquired). Biliary atresia is the top reason for a child to need a liver transplant. This congenital condition blocks the tubes (bile ducts) that carry bile from the liver to the intestine. Other conditions such as metabolic liver disease and liver tumors may require liver transplant to eradicate the disease.

At CHLA, your child receives the expert care they need throughout the entire liver transplant process and after. Our expert team guides your family through the decision-making process. We help you understand treatment options, including the liver transplant evaluation process.

Liver Transplant Programs and Services

Our specialized programs, clinics and services bring together leading pediatric transplant hepatologists (liver specialists) and experts from other medical fields. These experts work as a team to manage your child’s liver condition and keep them as healthy as possible until a liver transplant takes place.

We’ve streamlined your family’s access to medical services, making it easier for your child to see all the specialists they need during one visit. Depending on your child’s unique diagnosis, your family may benefit from one or more of our dedicated pediatric liver services.

Division of Abdominal Organ Transplantation

We offer surgical expertise in liver, kidney, intestinal and multiorgan transplantation. At CHLA, we are one of the largest centers performing segmental split-liver deceased and living donor liver transplant. Many of our patients are small infants, and our ability to perform partial liver transplant significantly shortens waiting time for the transplant. Moreover, one liver from the deceased donor can be used for two patients. Our surgical team also performs the operations on liver tumors if the transplant can be avoided. In addition, shunt operations can be performed to treat portal hypertension while keeping the patient’s own liver but preventing the risk of internal bleeding from engorged vein collaterals.

Liver Care Center

Children who need treatment for their liver disease receive ongoing, personalized care at our Liver Care Center. This center is part of our nationally rated Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition. Our team manages your child’s overall health with a distinct focus on their liver. Children who need liver transplants receive ongoing care at our Liver Care Center while also benefiting from services at our Liver Transplant Clinic.

Liver Transplant Clinic

Experts in our Liver Transplant Clinic perform advanced tests to assess how urgently your child needs a liver transplant. These tests also help monitor your child’s health during the wait for a donor liver. We get your child onto the national transplant waitlist fast and coordinate transplants from living donors. Our transplant nurse coordinators are here for your family through each step of the transplant journey.

Liver Tumor Program

The Liver Tumor Program at CHLA is one of the largest and most established pediatric programs in the country. Part of our nationally recognized Cancer and Blood Disease Institute, we offer the latest treatments for children with all types of liver tumors and liver cancer.

Our doctors may recommend a liver transplant if a tumor is too large to surgically remove without damaging the liver. Your child may also need a liver transplant if the tumor blocks bile ducts or causes liver failure. Learn more about the Liver Tumor Program at CHLA.

Pediatric Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) Program

Our Pediatric Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) Program focuses on treatments and lifestyle changes for children and teenagers who have excess fat in their livers. Some youths develop a severe form of fatty liver disease called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). This condition causes a fatty liver, liver inflammation and liver damage. A child with NASH can develop liver scarring (cirrhosis) that increases their risk for liver failure. These children may need a liver transplant. Learn more about our Pediatric Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) Program.

Innovative research and clinical trials

CHLA is a founding member of the Society of Pediatric Liver Transplantation (SPLIT). This global multicenter consortium conducts research and collects data to improve outcomes for children receiving liver transplants.

Our liver specialists are also active in research and clinical trials related to pediatric liver disease and liver transplants. We’re part of the Childhood Liver Disease Research Network (ChiLDReN), a nationwide collaborative team of liver experts. At CHLA, your child may benefit from new therapies still in development.

Multidisciplinary Care Team

Children who need liver transplants receive coordinated care from a team of experts from various medical specialties. Your child’s care team may include:

  • Liver disease experts (hepatologists) and Board-certified transplant hepatologists
  • Gastroenterologists (digestive disease specialists)
  • Transplant surgeons and pediatric surgeons
  • Infectious disease specialists
  • Oncologists and radiation oncologists (liver cancer specialists)
  • Transplant nurse coordinators and nurses
  • Transplant pharmacists
  • Registered dietitians
  • Social workers, psychologists and Child Life specialists

Meet our liver transplant team.

National and Regional Recognition

Our pediatric gastroenterology (GI) and GI surgery program—which includes our hepatology (liver) program—is among the best in the nation, as rated by U.S. News & World Report. We also rank as one of the country’s top children’s hospitals and the best in California.

Liver Transplant Care at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

We use advanced tests to evaluate your child and perform all types of pediatric liver transplants. Learn more about liver transplant diagnosis and treatments.

Contact us

The Liver Transplant Program at CHLA welcomes new patients, referrals and second opinions. Please contact us to make an appointment.