Pediatric Transplantation in the United States, 1995–2004

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Abstract

This article reviews trends in pediatric solid organ transplantation over the last decade, as reflected in OPTN/SRTR data. In 2004, children younger than 18 years made up nearly 3% of the 86 378 candidates for organ transplantation and nearly 7% of the 27 031 organ transplant recipients. Children accounted for nearly 14% of the 7152 deceased organ donors. The transplant community recognizes important differences between pediatric and adult organ transplant recipients, including different etiologies of organ failure, surgical procedures that are more complex or technically challenging, effects of development on the pharmacokinetic properties of common immunosuppressants, unique immunological aspects of transplant in the developing immune system and increased susceptibility to posttransplant complications, particularly infectious diseases. For these reasons, and because of the impact of end-stage organ failure on growth and development, the transplant community has generally provided pediatric candidates with special consideration in the allocation of deceased donor organs. Outcomes following kidney, liver and heart transplantation in children often rank among the best. This article emphasizes that the prospects for solid organ transplantation in children, especially those aged 1–10 years are excellent. It also identifies themes warranting further consideration, including organ availability, adolescent survival and challenges facing pediatric transplant clinical research.

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