What Is Involved in Pediatric Heart and Liver Organ Allocation?
There is minimal educational material regarding heart and liver allocation guidelines for pediatric nurses. Based on the Organ Procurement Transplantation Network (OPTN) data as of March 13, 2020, there are 1,978 children waiting for solid organ transplant. The referral criteria for solid organ transplant varies greatly among organ type and leaves room for interpretation. The strict qualifications to even be considered for a solid organ transplant go far beyond the physical state of the recipient. Criteria for transplantation may include life expectancy, history of medication adherence, available social support, previously failed transplantation, financial considerations, psychological status of the patient, and developmental delay. Nurses are in a unique position to advocate for early referral, identify potential barriers to transplant, provide support during hospitalizations, educate their patients and families, and offer anticipatory guidance. To have a successful transplant, a better understanding of the complex allocation system, contraindications to transplantation, pediatric exceptions, logistics of transplantation, and factors that contribute to early and late graft loss is essential. Informed nurses are in the best position to advocate for their patients and help improve outcomes.