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Transplant Proc. 2005 May;37(4):1708-9.

Long-term outcome of immunosuppression withdrawal after liver transplantation.

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Liver Transplant Surgical Service, King's College Hospital, London, United Kingdom.


Eighteen liver transplant recipients were followed up for 10 years after a trial of immunosuppression withdrawal. Three groups were identified according to the early outcome of complete (group A, n = 5), partial (group B, n = 9), and unsuccessful (group C, n = 4) withdrawal of immunosuppression. The indications for liver transplantation (LT) (August 1983-December 1988) were as follows: primary biliary cirrhosis (n = 3), primary sclerosing cholangitis (n = 3), Budd-Chiari syndrome (n = 3), acute liver failure (n = 3), hepatitis C virus (HCV) cirrhosis (n = 1), HCV and autoimmune hepatitis (n = 1), HCV and alcohol-related cirrhosis (n = 1), HCV and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) (n = 1), cystic fibrosis (n = 1), and liver metastases from testicular teratoma (n = 1). Immunosuppression was based on cyclosporine. All patients experienced 1 or more complications of prolonged immunosuppression (median, 7 years; range, 5-11). Thirteen patients (72%) are alive at a median interval of 17 years (range, 16-21) after LT. Of the 5 patients in group A, 2 currently have normal graft function with no rejection episodes, and 3 have restarted immunosuppression following late low-grade acute rejection (n = 1), retransplantation for chronic rejection (n = 1), and kidney transplantation (n = 1). Of the 9 patients in group B, 5 died. The deaths were due to ruptured arterial pseudoaneurysm following retransplantation, HCC recurrence, cardiac failure, renal failure, and posttransplant lymphoma at 5, 7, 7, 14, and 17 years after LT, respectively. All 4 patients in group C are alive on a full immunosuppressive regimen. Long-term follow-up of 18 LT recipients withdrawn from immunosuppression has shown that at a median of 17 years 10% of patients remain off all immunosuppression.

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