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Transplantation. 2004 Jul 27;78(2):235-41.

Short- and long-term results of liver transplantation in infants aged less than 6 months.

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Department of Pediatrics, Pediatric Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University of Hamburg, Martinistrasse 52, 20246 Hamburg, Germany.



Despite major surgical and medical advances, it is still a challenge to perform transplantation in small infants. This study, focusing on short- and long-term outcomes, summarizes our 10-year experience with liver transplantation (LTx) in infants aged less than 6 months.


We analyzed 43 patients aged 6 months or less (range: 12-184 days, median: 136 days) whose median weight at the time of LTx was 5.8 kg (range: 2.8-8.0 kg). The reasons for LTx were biliary atresia (n=27; 62.8%), neonatal hepatitis (n=6; 14%), neonatal cholestasis (n=4; 9.3%), and miscellaneous (n=6; 14%). The patients were followed up for a median time of 3 years and evaluated with respect to graft function, physical, and neurodevelopmental outcome.


The patient survival was 90.7% after 1 year and 87.2% after 2 years. The graft survival was 86% after 1 year and 82.1% after 2 years. Twelve patients (27.9%) experienced 15 surgical complications requiring intervention, two of whom demonstrated vascular thrombosis (4.7%). Acute early rejection occurred in 15 patients (34.9%), and chronic rejection occurred in 3 patients (7%); 83.3% of the patients had normal liver function test results at the time of evaluation. Complications such as posttransplant lymphoproliferative disease (4.7%) and persistent arterial hypertension (4.7%) were rarely seen. The physical and neurodevelopmental outcomes were good.


LTx in infants aged less than 6 months provides excellent short- and long-term results. Low weight or young age of infants awaiting LTx should not be exclusion criteria for LTx.

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