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Ann Surg. 2003 May;237(5):666-75; discussion 675-6.

Liver transplantation for fulminant hepatic failure: experience with more than 200 patients over a 17-year period.

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1
Department of Surgery, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California-Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA. dgfarmer@mednet.ucla.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To analyze outcomes after liver transplantation (LT) in patients with fulminant hepatic failure (FHF) with emphasis on pretransplant variables that can potentially help predict posttransplant outcome.

SUMMARY BACKGROUND DATA:

FHF is a formidable clinical problem associated with a high mortality rate. While LT is the treatment of choice for irreversible FHF, few investigations have examined pretransplant variables that can potentially predict outcome after LT.

METHODS:

A retrospective review was undertaken of all patients undergoing LT for FHF at a single transplant center. The median follow-up was 41 months. Thirty-five variables were analyzed by univariate and multivariate analysis to determine their impact on patient and graft survival.

RESULTS:

Two hundred four patients (60% female, median age 20.2 years) required urgent LT for FHF. Before LT, the majority of patients were comatose (76%), on hemodialysis (16%), and ICU-bound. The 1- and 5-year survival rates were 73% and 67% (patient) and 63% and 57% (graft). The primary cause of patient death was sepsis, and the primary cause of graft failure was primary graft nonfunction. Univariate analysis of pre-LT variables revealed that 19 variables predicted survival. From these results, multivariate analysis determined that the serum creatinine was the single most important prognosticator of patient survival.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study, representing one of the largest published series on LT for FHF, demonstrates a long-term survival of nearly 70% and develops a clinically applicable and readily measurable set of pretransplant factors that determine posttransplant outcome.

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