UPMC Bridging the Great Health Divide: Pediatric Transplant

Published: Apr. 13, 2023 at 6:03 PM EDT
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BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) - Pediatric transplant is a very specialized field, one that started and is based in Pittsburgh. There is an effort to bring that care closer to you. Jasmin Adous tells us more in this month’s Bridging the Great Health Divide sponsored by UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

There are approximately 600 pediatric liver transplants performed in the United States every year. Nearly 40 of those are performed by the doctors at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

“Everyone here is child focused,” said UMPC’s Dr. Kyle Soltys. “It’s a very different field than say a hospital that does pediatric transplant on the side. It’s more of a family thing.”

Dr. Soltys says families are a vital part of the decision-making process.

“The families are really part of the transplant team,” Dr. Soltys said. “I think that’s very different than elsewhere. Many times the families come to us and say this is going on and I think this…and usually they’re right. We understand that they’re such an important part of the team. That’s one huge difference and one thing that sets Children’s apart.”

Soltys says that working relationship leads to a closer bond between doctor and patient.

“You get to follow these kids from the time they’re born,” Dr. Soltys said. “These patients that you’ve been following and you’ve been getting the pictures and you see them every year, you go to camp with them and you do all these things with them, you do have a very different emotional attachment to them than I think most doctors have with their patients.

With access to specialized care hard to come by in the region, Soltys says that UPMC Children’s Hospital is making the effort to reach more transplant patients through localized clinics.

“We realize that there’s a lot of difficulty in patients getting to us,” Dr. Soltys said. “We’ve tried to maximize the number of places that we go to offer specialty services. Because there’s smaller clinics that are devoted to these patients, that’s a great way to increase the amount of times that we can actually steer their care and not them all the way to Pittsburgh and still get them into a situation where they can be treated.”

The outreach also includes performing procedures outside of the Pittsburgh area.

“The idea that our team goes to other hospitals is almost unheard of,” Dr. Soltys said. “In fact, it’s never been done. We’re expanding even further, hopefully. So, the number of places that we can go and actually physically go and do these very complex procedures and care for the children just like they’re in Pittsburgh, I think that’s something that’s very different and kind of sets us apart.”

To learn more about pediatric transplant at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, call 412-692-6110 or visit GreatHealthDivide@chp.edu.