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Seattle Children's Hospital Performs First Intestine Transplant in the Pacific Northwest

January 10, 2007

 Alfred “Alfie” Bautista received the first intestine transplant in the Pacific Northwest at Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center last Thursday.

Alfred “Alfie” Bautista received the first intestine transplant in the Pacific Northwest at Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center last Thursday. The 8-year-old Portland boy was born with a pseudo-obstruction that impeded the ability of his intestines to function properly. He has been nourished intravenously since birth. Alfie is recovering from surgery at Children’s.

“Alfie represents one of many children who will benefit from intestine transplants here in the Northwest,” said Dr. Jorge Reyes, director of Transplant Services at Children’s and the University of Washington. “He is doing well and asking to eat, which is a great sign of recovery and the positive changes he can look forward to.”

An intestine transplant is the process of removing a patient’s diseased small intestine and replacing it with a healthy donor intestine. The transplant process requires extensive preparation and lifelong follow-up care. Alfie’s surgery was led by Drs. Jorge Reyes and Patrick Healey, division chief of Transplantation at Children’s. Surgeons took 8 hours to remove his diseased intestine and replace it with the new donor intestine.

“Alfie is doing great. His early recovery has been excellent,” said Dr. Patrick Healey. “We are very excited about how well he is doing.”

According to the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS), 141 intestine transplants were performed in the United States in 2006, 75 of which were in patients under the age of 18. This is the first intestine transplant to be performed in our UNOS region, which includes Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho and Montana.

Children’s offers the only pediatric transplant program in the Pacific Northwest. The intestine transplant team is led by two internationally recognized doctors, Dr. Simon Horslen, a pediatric liver and intestine specialist (hepatologist), and Dr. Jorge Reyes, a surgeon who helped pioneer the field of intestine transplant and who has performed 200 multi-organ transplantations in children.

Not all patients with intestinal failure need intestine transplantation surgery. Other treatments for intestinal failure include intravenous nutrition (TPN) and restoring intestine function through intestinal rehabilitation. Common life-threatening complications include progressive liver disease or liver failure, recurrent or severe blood infections and loss of central venous access. Alfie’s transplant became urgent as his veins would no longer support his feeding lines.

“If there are no complications, we can nourish and care for children without transplant for long periods of time,” said Dr. Simon Horslen, medical director of Liver and Intestine Transplant at Children’s. “When complications arise, the risk to the patient makes transplantation a necessity. In the meantime, we do everything we can to keep the patients healthy and strong.”

Currently, there are 233 people waiting for an intestine transplant in the United States; 173 of those are under the age of 18.

“We are thrilled to work with Children’s to bring this important life-saving procedure to our area,” said Diana Clark, president and chief executive officer of LifeCenter Northwest, a nonprofit dedicated to facilitating organ donation in this region. “The strong partnership between LifeCenter and Children’s ensures every patient in the Northwest in need of a transplant receives world-class care. The commitment to saving lives through donation and transplantation is unparalleled and we are proud to have been a part of giving Alfie a second chance at life.”

 

Becoming an organ donor in Washington:

  • Register online at www.livinglegacyregistry.org
  • Call toll-free at 1-877-275-5269 and request a brochure to fill out and return.
  • Say "yes" to organ donation when renewing your driver’s license. Residents who already have a heart on their driver’s license are automatically added to the Living Legacy Registry.

About Seattle Children’s

Consistently ranked as one of the best children’s hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report, Seattle Children’s serves as the pediatric and adolescent academic medical referral center for the largest landmass of any children’s hospital in the country (Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho). For more than 100 years, Seattle Children’s has been delivering superior patient care while advancing new treatments through pediatric research. Seattle Children’s serves as the primary teaching, clinical and research site for the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine. The hospital works in partnership with Seattle Children’s Research Institute and Seattle Children’s Hospital Foundation. For more information, visit www.seattlechildrens.org or follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

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