Transplant Pre-evaluation: Introduction

We’re going to have a little series of posts here about Patrick’s transplant pre-evaluation at Seattle Children’s Hospital. I decided to break this up into a series not to extend the suspense for you, but to increase the odds that I would be able to finish a post in a single sitting.

So, we’ll start with an introduction. As you know, Patrick has extreme short gut syndrome. Without intestines, he is completely dependent on TPN for nutrition. And the lipids in the TPN are notorious for damaging the liver. If he had more intestine, there would be the option of adapting Patrick’s intestine, but with so little, he needs to have a transplant before his liver fails if he is going to survive.

Our GI in Utah recommended that we go to Seattle Children’s Hospital where they have a relatively new intestinal transplant program being started by some of the most experienced doctors in this field in the country. So, after some prayer and some research we requested a referral and last week we flew out for an evaluation.

There are several purposes for a pre-evaluation for transplant:
1) It gives us a chance to meet the team and see the facility and decide if we want to pursue treatment there.
2) The doctors can see the patient and have tests done to give them first hand knowledge of the case so they can recommend a plan of action, including deciding if transplant is the only option for the patient.
3) They do lots of tests that check to make sure Patrick is healthy enough for a major surgery, to detect any unknown health problems, and to gather the information needed to match him with a donor.
4) They look at our family’s ability to maintain Patrick’s care financially, emotionally, and physically both before, during, and after transplant.

Once the workup is complete, Patrick’s case is presented to a review board and a decision is made as to whether or not he is a good transplant candidate. When the decision is made, they’ll notify us.

So that’s the purpose of the pre-evaluation. The next few posts will describe our experience and what we learned.

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