Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2000 Mar;30(3):269-75.

Long-term nutritional and neurodevelopmental outcome of liver transplantation in infants aged less than 12 months.

Author information

The Liver Unit, The Birmingham Children's Hospital NHS Trust, United Kingdom.



Liver transplantation is established treatment for children with end-stage liver disease and has a 5-year survival rate of 80% to 85%, even in infants under 12 months. Long-term outcome in nutritional rehabilitation and normal development is unknown. This study aimed to prospectively evaluate growth and psychoneurologic performance of children who undergo liver transplantation in infancy.


Twenty-five infants (18 girls, 7 boys) who underwent liver transplantation at less than 12 months of age (median age, 9 months) were evaluated for 4 years. Growth measurements were expressed as standard deviation scores (SDSs; mean +/- SEM), and psychoneurologic performance was assessed with the unrevised Griffiths Mental Ability Scales (normal range, 80-120).


Four children died during the study (4-year survival, 84%). The children were malnourished before transplantation (SDSs: weight, -1.9 +/- 0.2; midarm muscle area, -0.93 +/- 0.3; midarm fat area, -1.52 +/- 0.3; and height, -0.95 +/- 0.3). Nutritional rehabilitation for all parameters occurred within 12 to 24 months after transplantation, which was most significant for weight (-1.1 +/- 0.2, P = 0.001), midarm muscle area (0.74 +/- 0.3, P = 0.001), and midarm fat area (-0.44 +/- 0.3, P = 0.01). There was some improvement in height (-0.72 +/- 0.3, P = 0.14), which was not significant, although infants who were severely stunted before transplantation (mean height standard deviation score [SDS] -2.46) showed significant catch-up at 1 year after transplantation (mean height SDS -1.2, P = 0.003). Psychoneurologic scores were within normal limits before transplantation and were maintained for the 4-year follow-up period, although individual scores varied during this period. Improved nutritional status was associated with increased muscle bulk and subsequent improvement in motor scores from 90.6 at initial assessment to 97.3 at 4 years (P = 0.28). There was a temporary reduction in social skills and eye-hand coordination in the first year, which may have been an effect of the hospital environment or cyclosporine immunosuppression. Language abilities also regressed during the first year, possibly related to the effect of nasogastric tube feeding in delaying normal speech development.


Liver transplantation in infancy has not only a successful outcome but is also associated with long-term catch-up growth and nutrition and maintenance of normal development.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
    Loading ...
    Support Center