The examinations that your child will undergo

 

This evaluation is difficult and extensive: several blood samples, an intravenous infusion (“drip”), ultrasound examinations, in some cases a liver biopsy or liver needle biopsy, a scan or a digestive endoscopy are necessary. The latter three examinations are performed under general anaesthesia. Despite these difficult and in part unpleasant examinations, this week will give you the opportunity to acquaint yourself with the Centre, the department, the nurses and physicians and to ask all questions that come to your mind. The most common examinations are described below:

 

BLOOD ANALYSES

They enable the physicians to better understand how your child’s liver and kidneys work and to perform the screening for the different types of hepatitis, HIV virus and other viral infections. The determination of the blood group is included in the evaluation. Sometimes, a blood sample must be taken from the parents as well.

 

ELECTROCARDIOGRAM (ECG) ET ECHOCARDIOGRAPHY

The electrocardiogram (ECG) and the echocardiography (also called cardiac ultrasonography or US) are used to evaluate the heart and the entire heart function of your child.

 

URINANALYSIS

The red blood cells, the proteins and the bacteria in the urine are analysed as well as the electrolytes (the “salts” in a fluid, for example sodium or potassium) and their excretion.

 

ABDOMINAL ECHOGRAPHIES OR ULTRASONOGRAPHIES

The echography uses sonic waves to visualise the size and the shape of the liver as well as all other abdominal organs. It also enables the physicians to see whether the blood vessels of the liver are normal. A scan (CT scan) is sometimes carried out after the echography, in young children under general anaesthesia, in order to better display certain structures.

 

LIVER BIOPSY OR LIVER NEEDLE BIOPSY

The liver biopsy is carried out under general anaesthesia. During this intervention, the physician removes a small portion of the liver, generally through the skin, using a small aspirating needle (liver needle biopsy). Your child must be fasting for some hours after this intervention.

 

DIGESTIVE ENDOSCOPY

The digestive endoscopy, performed under general anaesthesia as well, enables the physician to visualise the oesophagus, the stomach and the first part of the intestine. It is used to reveal, for example, oesophageal varices.

 

END OF THE PRE-TRANSPLANT EVALUATION

At the end of this first stay, the medical team will give you a preliminary opinion on the possibility of a liver transplant. Before we can give a final opinion, we have to wait for all results of the examinations performed, which will take some time since we do not receive all results at the same time.

It is important to know that a liver transplant will only be performed when the risk for your child to live with his own liver exceeds the risk of the transplant and its consequences.