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J Pediatr Surg. 1996 May;31(5):619-24.

10 years of pediatric liver transplantation.

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  • 1Division of Pediatric Surgery, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, USA.



Pediatric liver transplantation is an accepted therapy for end-stage liver disease, but little long-term data exist.


From October 1984 to October 1994, 202 patients underwent a total of 225 liver transplantations. There were 98 boys and 104 girls, the average age was 5.1 +/- 4.9 (range, 0.2 to 19.1) years. Thirty (16%) were under 1 year of age. The diseases that required transplantation included biliary atresia (BA) (45%), metabolic liver disease (MLD) (9.9%), acute hepatic failure (6.9%), and Alagille's syndrome (AS) (5.4%). Originally the immunosuppression was cyclosporine- and steroid-based; the later regimens also included azathioprine and antilymphocyte preparations. All reported survival rates were derived from life-table analysis.


The patient survival rates at 1, 5, and 10 years were 76%, 70%, and 61%; the retransplantation rate was 11%. The respective graft survival rates were 71%, 63%, and 59%. There were 60 deaths; 48 (81%) occurred in the first year. These first-year deaths were from sepsis (20; 42%), central nervous system problems (5; 11%), intraoperative complications (4; 8%), lymphoproliferative disease (LPD) (2; 4%), rejection (2; 4%), primary nonfunction (2; 4%), and miscellaneous other causes (7; 15%). There were 12 deaths after the first year, from LPD (3; 25%), sepsis (1; 8%), rejection (2; 18%), cancer (1; 9%), secondary hepatic failure (1; 9%), cerebral vascular accident (1; 9%), or pre- or postoperative complications (3; 25%). Compared with the overall survival rate, patients with MLD had a better chance of survival (83%; P <.012) than did those with AS (45%; P < .001). The 5- and 10-year survival rates for patients with BA were 61% and 58%. Over the past 2 years, the survival rate has increased (87% v 72%; P < .05) as early septic deaths have decreased (from 2.6 to 1.0 per year).


Liver transplantation is effective treatment for end-stage liver disease. Decreasing the number of early septic deaths has improved the chance of survival, and better diagnosis and treatment of LPD would improve the late survival rate.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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