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Hum Pathol. 2002 Mar;33(3):270-6.

Centrilobular histopathologic changes in liver transplant biopsies.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Lahey Clinic Medical Center, Burlington, MA, USA.


We evaluated centrilobular histologic changes seen on post-orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) biopsies to refine the pathologic diagnosis by systematic study of morphologic and clinical data with possible identification of prognostic criteria. A total of 110 biopsies with zone 3 pathology from 59 patients were reviewed and correlated with clinical findings. Within the first 6 months post-OLT (group I), 39 of 47 patients had combinations of centrilobular hepatocytic dropout, ballooning, and cholestasis on single or multiple biopsies attributed to perioperative ischemic/perfusion injury; 12 of 39 patients with all 3 features present had increased incidence of biliary complications and sepsis and decreased 1-year patient and graft survival; 17 of 39 patients with 2 of the 3 features had increased biliary complications but not decreased 1-year survival; and the remaining 8 of 47 patients had central venulitis associated with acute cellular rejection. After 6 months post-OLT (group II), 14 patients, including 2 from group I, had biopsies with centrilobular pathology; 8 of 14 had central venulitis related to rejection (acute, 4; chronic, 4), and fibrosis was seen in 8 (rejection, 6; cardiac problems, 2). In conclusion, combinations of centrilobular hepatocytic ballooning, dropout, and cholestasis are seen in association with reversible or irreversible ischemic/perfusion damage in the early post-OLT period. The presence of all 3 features is associated with a poor outcome. Central venulitis as a feature of acute/chronic rejection is seen at any time post-OLT and is not a predictor of poor graft/patient survival.

Copyright 2002, Elsevier Science (USA). All rights reserved.

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