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Transplant Proc. 2003 Nov;35(7):2431-4.

Liver transplantation for primary sclerosing cholangitis.

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Multi-Organ Transplant Program, London Health Sciences Centre, London, Ontario, Canada.


Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) is a chronic cholestatic disease that progresses to end-stage liver disease. This report is a retrospective analysis of a Canadian centre experience with liver transplantation (LT) for PSC. Of 1107 LTs performed between 1984 and 2002, 132 were performed on 111 patients with PSC. Patient survival at 1, 3, 5, and 10 years was 84.5%, 84.5%, 83.4%, and 68.9%, respectively. Graft survival at 1, 3, 5, and 10 years was 80.8%, 79.8%, 72.7%, and 55.3%. These were not significantly different from overall patient survival (P =.91) or graft survival (P =.28) in non-PSC patients transplanted over the same time period. Early mortality was predominantly related to primary nonfunction and multi-organ failure; late mortality was predominantly related to malignancy. No patient with known cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) underwent LT, but three patients had an incidental CCA noted on explant pathology. All three died of widespread metastatic disease (10.8, 38.0, and 39.8 months after LT). Nineteen patients lost their primary grafts requiring retransplantation, and two of these patients required a third transplant. Recurrent PSC was detected in six patients and suspected in another six. Four patients have been retransplanted for recurrent PSC. Chronic rejection was detected in nine patients. Eight have required retransplantation. The incidence of biliary complications was 16.2%.


LT is effective therapy for PSC. Patient and graft survival is comparable to that seen in patients transplanted for indications other than PSC, but long-term graft survival may be lower. Recurrent PSC and chronic rejection are the major determinants of graft loss.

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