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J Hepatol. 2006;44(1 Suppl):S140-5. Epub 2005 Nov 28.

Management of end stage liver disease (ESLD): what is the current role of orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT)?

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  • 1Infectious Diseases Service, Hospital Clinic-IDIBAPS, Villarroel, 08036 Barcelona, Spain.

Abstract

Liver disease due to chronic hepatitis B and C is now a leading cause of morbidity and mortality among HIV-infected patients in the developed world, where classical opportunistic complications of severe immunodeficiency have declined dramatically. Orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) is the only therapeutic option for patients with end-stage liver disease (ESLD). Accumulated experience in North America and Europe in the last 5 years indicates that 3-year survival in selected HIV-infected recipients of liver transplants was similar to that of HIV-negative recipients. So, HIV infection by itself is not therefore a contraindication for liver transplantation. As survival of HIV-infected patients with ESLD is shorter than non-HIV-infected population, the evaluation for OLT should be made after the first liver decompensation. The current selection criteria for HIV-positive transplant candidates include: no history of opportunistic infections or HIV-related neoplasms, CD4 cell count > 100 cells/mm(3), and plasma HIV viral load suppressible with antiretroviral treatment. For drug abusers, a 2-year abstinence from heroin and cocaine is required, although patients can be in a methadone programme. The main problems in the post-transplant period are pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic interactions between antiretrovirals and immunosuppressive drugs, and the management of relapse of HCV infection. Up to now, experience with pegylated interferon and ribavirin is scarce in this population. Currently, HCV re-infection is the main cause for concern.

PMID:
16352366
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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