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Florida Hospital for Children Partners with Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC to Develop Pediatric Liver Transplant Program in Florida

In order to make lifesaving liver transplants available throughout central and north Florida, Florida Hospital for Children is partnering with Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC to develop a comprehensive pediatric liver transplant program. This will be the first program of its kind in Orlando, the second in Florida, and is expected to start accepting patients in January.

Florida Hospital is one of the largest not-for-profit hospitals in the country. The organization’s range of nationally and internationally recognized services includes transplant, pediatrics, cardiology and advanced surgical programs. Florida Hospital for Children’s flagship hospital in Orlando is the heart of a children’s network that includes primary care pediatricians, specialty clinics, emergency departments and Kids Urgent Care.

“There is a critical need for children across our state to have access to a liver transplant program that is close to home,” said Regino Gonzalez-Peralta, M.D., director of pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and liver transplantation with Florida Hospital for Children. “This partnership brings the experience of one the nation’s best pediatric liver transplant programs to central Florida. The Florida Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC’s partnership is not only a win for our patients, but all of Florida.”

The teams will work in partnership with Florida Hospital’s Transplant Institute, which offers kidney, liver, kidney/pancreas, lung and heart transplants.

“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 Thomas Chin, M.D., 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.”

In order to offer these transplants to families in the Florida area, the hospital will work with the Hillman Center for Pediatric Transplantation at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, which has performed more than 1,800 pediatric liver transplants – more than any other center in the United States, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing, with patient survival rates consistently higher than national averages.

“We are grateful for this opportunity to now expand our services and expertise in pediatric liver transplantation to families in the Florida area,” said George V. Mazariegos, M.D., chief of pediatric transplantation at Children’s. “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.”

In 1981, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC opened the country’s first comprehensive pediatric transplant center under the guidance of transplant pioneer Thomas E. Starzl, M.D., Ph.D. According to the 2017 data released by the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients, the pediatric liver transplant program at Children's ranks number 1 out of 62 pediatric liver transplant centers in the United States for one-year overall patient and graft survival when comparing hazard ratio estimates. The program remains at the leading edge of expertise, innovation, and patient- and family centered care for transplant patients from all over the world.

Members of the transplant team from Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC will participate in the management of patients in Florida. Transplant surgeons, medical specialists and nurses from Florida and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC will perform pediatric liver transplant surgeries together at Florida Hospital for Children.

The pediatric liver transplant partnership with Florida Hospital is the second program of its kind for Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. In 2016, Children’s Hospital became the first and only pediatric liver transplant program to expand the geographic reach of its expertise through a partnership with the University of Virginia Children’s Hospital in Charlottesville. Today, Children’s pediatric liver transplant network extends from Pittsburgh to Virginia, and now Florida.

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About Florida Hospital and Florida Hospital for Children

Opened in 1908, Florida Hospital is a faith-based institution focused on providing whole person care. It is one of the largest not-for-profit hospitals in the country, caring for more than two million patient visits per year – more than any other hospital in the country. It is a member of Adventist Health System, which operates 45 hospitals in nine states, making it one of the largest faith-based health care systems in the United States. Florida Hospital stretches across the state with 26 hospitals, more than 4,600 patient beds, and more than 32,000 employees. The Central Florida division includes the Walt Disney Pavilion at Florida Hospital for Children, and dozens of outpatient facilities and Centra Care urgent care locations. Florida Hospital provides a wide range of health services, including many nationally and internationally recognized programs in cardiology, cancer, women’s medicine, neurosciences, diabetes, orthopedics, pediatrics, transplant and advanced surgical programs.

Florida Hospital for Children is committed to delivering world-class programs, extraordinary patient care and clinical excellence. Its flagship hospital is the heart of a children’s network that includes primary care pediatricians, specialty clinics, emergency departments and Kids Urgent Care. With the help of Walt Disney Imagineering and input from patients, families and clinicians, Florida Hospital for Children features a seven-story, technologically advanced facility with a child-centered healing environment.

About Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC

Regionally, nationally, and globally, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC is a leader in the treatment of childhood conditions and diseases, a pioneer in the development of new and improved therapies, and a top educator of the next generation of pediatricians and pediatric subspecialists. Children’s Hospital has fulfilled this mission since its founding in 1890. Children’s is named consistently to several elite lists of pediatric hospitals, including ranking 10th among children’s hospitals and schools of medicine (FY 2016) in funding for pediatric research provided by the National Institutes of Health, and is one of 10 pediatric hospitals in the United States named to the U.S. News & World Report Honor Roll of America’s “Best Children’s Hospitals” for 2017-2018.

www.chp.edu/pressroom

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