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J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2010 Mar;50(3):295-302. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0b013e3181bf0ef7.

Childhood autoimmune liver disease: indications and outcome of liver transplantation.

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Department of Paediatrics, University of Malaya Medical Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.



Graft rejection and disease recurrence are well-recognized complications of liver transplantation (LT) for autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) and autoimmune sclerosing cholangitis (AISC). We describe indications and outcome of LT for childhood AIH and AISC.


Twenty-year retrospective review of a cohort of children (n = 101) with AIH, AISC, or AIH/sclerosing cholangitis overlap syndrome from a single center.


AIH type 1 (AIH1, n = 67) was more common than AIH type 2 (AIH2, n = 18), AISC (n = 8), or overlap syndrome (n = 8). Overall, 18 patients (18%) required LT, the indications being failure of medical therapy (n = 16) and fulminant liver failure (n = 2). Patients with AIH who required LT had a more prolonged prothrombin time at presentation compared with those who did not undergo transplantation (P = 0.01). Patients with AIH1 who received LT had a lower aspartate transaminase (P = 0.009) and alanine transaminase (P = 0.02) levels at initial diagnosis compared with those with AIH1 who did not undergo transplantation. Post-LT, 11 patients (61%) had 18 episodes of rejection, most were steroid sensitive. Disease recurrence was observed in 7 patients (39%, median duration post-LT 33 months), more common in AIH2 (80% recurrence rate), and those taking cyclosporine (71%, 5/7 patients) compared with those taking tacrolimus (18%, 2/11 patients; P < 0.05) and in 3 of 3 children who did not have maintenance steroids post-LT. The overall 5- and 7-year post-LT survival rate was 94% and 88%, respectively.


LT is a good therapeutic option for progressive AIH and AISC, although recurrence of the primary autoimmune process limits the outcome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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