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Pediatr Transplant. 2011 Mar;15(2):E25-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3046.2010.01383.x. Epub 2010 Sep 15.

Preemptive liver transplantation in a child with familial hypercholesterolemia.

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  • 1Metabolic Unit, Bambino Gesù Children Hospital, Rome, Italy.


Familial hypercholesterolemia is an autosomal codominant disorder associated with markedly elevated plasma concentration of LDL-cholesterol and increased cardiovascular risk. Homozygous patients have rapid development of atherosclerosis with death from cardiovascular disease even in childhood. Life-long recurrent apheresis to reduce plasma LDL-cholesterol is considered the gold standard for treatment. Liver transplantation can be curative for this condition, but is usually only considered after the development of cardiovascular disease. We report a 5.5-yr-old child initially misdiagnosed with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia and treated by low-fat diet only. In view of persistent hypercholesterolemia and development of xanthomatosis, new molecular studies indicated the presence of two different mutations in the LDL receptor gene, with one being a deletion of two exons not identifiable with standard sequencing analysis. Recurrent plasma apheresis in combination with statins lowered, but did not normalize plasma LDL-cholesterol levels. It caused progressive reduction of the size of xanthomas and prevented the development of vascular complications. After two yr, liver transplantation normalized LDL-cholesterol levels and completely resolved the skin lesions. Preemptive liver transplantation is a definitive cure of familial homozygous hypercholesterolemia and might be more effective if performed before development of vascular complications.

© 2010 John Wiley & Sons A/S.

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