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Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh to perform pediatric liver transplants in Florida

Ben Schmitt
| Monday, Nov. 6, 2017, 2:27 p.m.
Dr. George Mazariegos
Justin Merriman | Trib Total Media
Dr. George Mazariegos

Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC officials announced a partnership Monday with Florida Hospital for Children to create a pediatric liver transplant program in central Florida.

“This establishes an additional network site where we can deliver care in a high quality fashion,” Dr. George Mazariegos, chief of pediatric transplantation at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, told the Tribune-Review. “There's a need throughout the country right now.”

Members of the Pittsburgh transplant team will travel to Florida to perform pediatric liver transplant surgeries together with staff at Florida Hospital for Children.

Florida Hospital for Children's flagship hospital is in Orlando.

“Florida Hospital has been committed to saving lives through our transplant programs for more than 40 years, and it is our goal to provide the same level of advanced and compassionate care to infants and children in our community in need of liver transplants,” said Dr. Thomas Chin, director of the Florida Hospital Transplant Institute's liver transplant program. “We are honored to partner with Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and bring our world-class programs together.”

UPMC performs about 30 to 35 pediatric liver transplants in Pittsburgh annually, Mazariegos said.

“I think what we gain here is an ability to be recognized as pioneering in new ways to take care of children that is innovative and labor intensive,” he said. “The hospital will gain additional recognition nationally for its outcomes as well as extension of delivery through regional collaborations.”

UPMC pediatric liver transplant surgeon Dr. Kyle Soltys will lead a team of personnel that will travel back and forth to Florida under the direction of Mazariegos.

The pediatric liver transplant partnership will resemble a collaboration set up last year between UPMC and the University of Virginia Children's Hospital in Charlottesville. So far, the UVA partnership has resulted in nine liver transplants with 100 percent survival, Mazariegos said.

“We are grateful for this opportunity to now expand our services and expertise in pediatric liver transplantation to families in the Florida area,” he said. “Our extension of expertise will provide the best possible care and make transplant a life-saving treatment for local families and help them to achieve a better quality of life.”

The goal is at least a 10-year commitment to the partnership with Florida.

“We feel this can be an ongoing commitment that will serve the children of Florida and the region very well for their lifetimes,” Mazariegos said.

Nationally, there are about 500 pediatric liver transplants a year.

Ben Schmitt is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7991, bschmitt@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Bencschmitt.

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