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Transplantation. 2001 Mar 15;71(5):633-7.

Orthotopic liver transplantation for mitochondrial respiratory chain disorders: a study of 5 children.

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Services d'Hépatologie, de Chirurgie et de Réanimation Pédiatriques, H pital Bicêtre, Le Kremlin-Bicêtre, France.



Liver involvement in mitochondrial respiratory chain disorders (MRCD) frequently ends in liver failure and death. Because of the high risk of extrahepatic, particularly neuromuscular, manifestations of the disease, the indication of orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) in these patients remains controversial. We report on 5 such children in whom OLT was carried out, in an attempt to help clarify the matter.


Patients 1 and 2 presented with fulminant liver failure at ages 7 and 6 months respectively. Emergency liver transplantation was performed before etiological investigations were completed. Retrospective examination of the explanted livers showed defects in complexes I, III and IV. In patient 1, severe neurological deterioration occurred 2 months after OLT with fatal outcome 9 months later. Patient 2 is alive 22 months after OLT with moderate motor impairment. Patients 3, 4 and 5 presented with progressive liver failure before 6 months of age. Surgical liver biopsies displayed a 50% defect in complex IV (patient 3), a defect in complexes I, IV (patient 4) and in complexes I, III, IV (patient 5). Because there was no clinical extrahepatic involvement on investigations, OLT was carried out in these patients. Patient 3 died of multiple organ failure soon after OLT, patients 4 and 5 are alive respectively 21 months and 12 months after OLT with normal neurological examination.


OLT may be a valid therapeutic option in infants with delayed liver cell failure due to MRCD, only after performing in emergency a thorough inves tigation to exclude clinically significant extrahepatic, especially neuromuscular, involvement.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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