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Pediatric liver transplant program named among nation’s best

Feb. 25, 2021, 8:05 AM


by Jessica Pasley

The pediatric liver transplant program at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt continues to reach milestones — the most recent being named one of the best programs in the country.

The recognition from the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR) was welcome news for the program’s chief, Sophoclis Alexopoulos, MD.

“We knew we were performing well,” he said. “Receiving verification through this report is a great indicator that we are moving in the direction we want. We are proud of our progress.

“We continue to focus on offering pediatric patients with liver disease broader access to transplantation,” Alexopoulos said. “As we expand our services and team, we are dedicated to taking on higher-risk and more complex cases. And we are experiencing excellent outcomes.”

Named one of five programs with a superior rating for patient survival during a two-and-a-half-year period, the recognition also highlights the program’s 100% patient and graft survival rate.

In addition, the program was also listed as the eighth busiest deceased donor pediatric liver transplant program and the 12th busiest total pediatric liver transplant program in the nation.

“Drs. Alexopoulos and Lynette Gillis have done a remarkable job in leading a large multidisciplinary team that provides this essential service to the children of Middle Tennessee,” said Seth Karp, MD, H. William Scott Jr. Professor, director of the Vanderbilt Transplant Center and chair of the Section of Surgical Sciences at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “There is literally no better place in the U.S. for children in need of liver transplantation.”

Gillis, assistant professor of Pediatrics, is the director of Pediatric Hepatology and Liver Transplantation at Children’s Hospital.

The data recorded by the SRTR included transplants between July 1, 2017, and Dec. 31, 2019. SRTR provides advanced statistical and epidemiological analyses related to solid organ allocation and transplantation in support of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in overseeing the national organ transplantation system.

“None of this would be possible without the passion, dedication and expertise that each of our team members brings to the table,” said Alexopoulos. “I look forward to our continued success in providing this important service to such a vulnerable group of children.

“Our program growth is multifactorial. Our team is also growing. We recently added two additional hepatologists while increasing our presence throughout the state and region.”

Liver patients come to Vanderbilt from areas outside of Tennessee including Kentucky, Mississippi, Northern Alabama, Northern Louisiana and Western North Carolina.

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