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Transplantation. 1992 Jan;53(1):109-15.

Serum lipid abnormalities in pediatric liver transplant patients.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, UCLA School of Medicine.


Little is known about serum lipid abnormalities in pediatric liver transplant recipients. We performed a longitudinal cohort review of 102 outpatient pediatric liver recipients surviving greater than 6 months and immunosuppressed with cyclosporine and prednisone (+/- azathioprine). The median age was 6 years, median months posttransplant 25, and male-to-female ratio 1:1.5. The average cholesterol (mean of individual means) was 177 +/- 45 mg/dl and average triglyceride level 158 +/- 71 mg/dl. The mean percent of cholesterol levels greater than 170 mg/dl and triglyceride levels greater than 140 mg/dl was 47% and 50%, respectively. Age, obesity, sex, and family history of risk factors had no significant effect on cholesterol or triglyceride levels. Bivariate regression analysis showed no meaningful association between cholesterol or triglyceride levels and cyclosporine levels, cyclosporine dose, prednisone dose, or diastolic blood pressure. Triglyceride and cholesterol neither increased nor decreased with time posttransplant. The rate of change of triglyceride or cholesterol could not be predicted by the rate of change of cyclosporine levels (or dose), or prednisone dose. We found no evidence that rises or falls in cholesterol or triglyceride levels coincided with rises or falls in either cyclosporine level or prednisone dose. Cholestasis was significantly associated with increased cholesterol and triglyceride levels (P = 0.05). A multivariate analysis was unable to predict cholesterol or triglyceride levels from three predictors: cyclosporine level, prednisone dose, and liver function. The mean dietary intake of fat and cholesterol was above RDA and exercise patterns were suboptimal in school-aged children.


50% of children had a mean cholesterol greater than 75th percentile (170 mg/dl); 20% were above the 95th percentile; 56% had a mean triglyceride level greater than 140 mg/dl. By these criteria the majority of pediatric liver transplant patients have lipid abnormalities that may predispose them to atherosclerosis in later life.

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