Disorders of the liver are common causes of chronic illness in childhood, affecting approximately one of every 8,000 children. Most childhood liver diseases are congenital (present at birth), and may be caused by a variety of genetic abnormalities, structural malformations, or prenatal infections. In addition, older children and teenagers may be affected by some acquired disorders seen in adults.
Liver disease exerts many adverse effects, not only on the function of the child's liver, but also on growth, development, and intellectual achievement. As with all chronic childhood diseases, psychosocial development and family interactions may also be impacted. A comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to care and treatment provided by a team of experts in pediatric disorders is essential for optimal outcomes. Mayo Clinic provides this type of expertise with a practice in a child-friendly environment.
The Pediatric Hepatology Clinic at Mayo Clinic includes pediatric gastroenterologists, pediatric surgeons, pediatric nutritionists, and liver transplant personnel. In addition, a variety of other pediatric subspecialists, radiologists and liver pathologists in one centralized location are readily accessible. In addition to routine clinical care, the hepatology group is involved in clinical research and education, and members are active in several national and international advisory groups.