Transplant and Pulmonary Hypertension
Information for Parents – Pediatric Transplant
Pediatric transplant varies in respect to adult transplant in several ways. Priority for available organs for pediatric patients is not determined using the Lung Allocation System (LAS). Rather, wait time, blood type and location are used to determine priority for organs in pediatric transplant candidates. Organs from donors under the age of 18 will first be offered to pediatric transplant candidates before they are offered to adult candidates.
Pediatric transplant candidates will undergo many of the same tests and workup procedures as adults. The process of getting the call and arriving at the hospital, as well as the general surgical procedure, are the same in children and adults.
Important medical notes about pediatric transplant:
- Infants from the earliest months can undergo successful lung transplantation.
- It is important to prevent illnesses before and after transplant surgery, so all childhood immunizations should be given prior to listing for transplantation. Patients should also be vaccinated against pneumonia.
- On the day of the transplant, the anesthesiologist may allow you to take your child into the operating room and stay with them until they are put to sleep. Ask your transplant team beforehand if this will be a possibility.
Any hospital experience can be scary for children, particularly one involving surgery. Here are a few tips to ease the anxiety that children may experience during pre-operative doctor’s visits and during the transplant surgery and recovery:
- Make the hospital room feel like a familiar place by bringing toys, pictures of family and comfort objects from home.
- Try to have a family member or members with the child as much as possible.
- For children preschool aged and up, pre-hospital teaching can help ease anxiety. Explain the hospital stay or visit and medical procedures in simple, non-threatening terms the child can understand. Make sure that your child’s doctors also explain things simply and in positive terms. You can ask the doctors, nurses and therapists to draw pictures to aid in explanations.
- Children are very perceptive; remaining positive will help them do the same.
- It is important that children understand that their illness is not a punishment, but simply something that happened to them.
- Encourage your child to talk about his or her feelings. Listen when your child is talking and acknowledge his or her feelings.
- Encourage your child’s friends to visit, call or write letters while your child is in the hospital.
For information about post-transplant life for pediatric transplants go to the Transplant Living website.