Liver Transplant Program

Life After Liver Transplant

Our goal for the transplant recipient and his/her family is that following a liver transplant they return to as close to “normal life” as possible. That being said, life after liver transplant is different for children and their families in many ways – from taking caution to avoid infections to understanding the anti-rejection medications that keep transplanted organs healthy. Texas Children’s will help you navigate post-transplant life from day 1.  

Follow-up doctor visits and labs 

If you live outside of the Houston area, you should plan to stay in Houston at least 30 days after discharge from the hospital. If complications occur, your stay may be extended until it’s safe to transition home. 

Clinic visits 

The transplant recipient's first follow-up visit will be the following Monday or Wednesday morning after being discharged from the hospital. Your child will continue to have weekly clinic and lab appointments for the following month following transplant to be evaluated by your transplant coordinator, hepatologist and/or nurse practitioner. 

Following the first month, the transplant recepient's appointments will decrease to monthly for the first year, and eventually to once a year. Regardless of where you reside, you’ll be required to return to Texas Children’s Transplant Center on a yearly basis for follow-up until your child transitions to adult care. 

Lab work 

Once discharged from the hospital, lab work will be required frequently following transplant. The schedule of lab draws will be based on previous results, as well as any symptoms that the transplant recepient may exhibit. The transplant coordinator will review the transplant recepient's lab results with the doctor and call you with results and the next lab date. 

Medication levels are often checked with lab draws. As a result, the transplant recepient must have labs drawn at a specified time. It’s important for the liver team to monitor these results carefully to provide the best possible medical care to the transplant recepient. Problems with the liver are easier to correct when they are detected early. 

Additionally, you’ll be asked to get labs in between follow-up appointments. This follow-up plan will be individualized for the transplant recepient. If you live outside Houston, you’ll be asked to get labs near your home and be instructed to see your local gastroenterologist and your pediatrician for regular follow-up appointments. 

Types of post-transplant medications

Anti-infection (antibiotics, antiviral, antifungal) Anti-rejection (immunosuppressant) medications Blood pressure medications Corticosteroids Stomach acid reducers Vitamins and supplements
Anti-infection (antibiotics, antiviral, antifungal) Blood pressure medications Stomach acid reducers Anti-rejection (immunosuppressant) medications Corticosteroids Vitamins and supplements
Anti-infection (antibiotics, antiviral, antifungal) Blood pressure medications Stomach acid reducers Anti-rejection (immunosuppressant) medications Corticosteroids Vitamins and supplements


Post-transplant infection prevention 

Your child will receive very strong anti-rejection medications at the time of transplant that lower the body’s ability to fight off infections. Special care must be taken to avoid contact with people who are sick. Only immediate family members should visit during this time. 

Following the first 6 months post-transplant, your child will still be at risk for infection, and as they slowly return to normal activities and interacting with more people, you should remain cautious about interacting with anyone who shows signs of illness. Hand washing and overall good hygiene are important routines to adopt. Your transplant team will help to educate you on how to keep your child healthy.