Because your child has a transplanted liver, the body recognizes the liver is not its own. The body naturally wants to get rid of, or reject, the new liver. The transplant physicians will prescribe medications to help prevent a rejection. However, approximately 50 percent of patients experience some level of rejection in the first year following transplant.
Your child’s physician will watch for liver rejection by measuring liver enzyme levels in routine blood work; elevated levels are often the only symptom of rejection. If your child’s physician suspects rejection, the liver care team will conduct a liver biopsy. If the doctor determines that the body is rejecting the new liver, your child's medications will need to be adjusted.
In most cases, treatment of rejection requires that your child be hospitalized for five to seven days. The doctor may repeat the liver biopsy to ensure that the rejection has been controlled. Usually, medications control rejection. In rare cases of severe and untreatable rejection, doctors may need to perform a new transplant.