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Pediatr Transplant. 2011 Mar;15(2):184-92. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3046.2010.01451.x. Epub 2010 Dec 29.

Visuospatial impairment in children and adolescents after liver transplantation.

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Institute of Behavioural Sciences, University of Helsinki, Pediatric Nephrology and Transplantation, Hospital for Children and Adolescents, Helsinki, Finland.


A minority of children with liver transplants exhibit significant delay in global intelligence; others have specific learning disabilities. More specific data on neurocognitive strengths and weaknesses are lacking. Eighteen children aged 7-16 yr, who had undergone LTx in Finland participated in the study. They were assessed on an average 7.6 (s.d. 4.5, range 1.0-15.0) years post-operatively at a mean age of 11.8 (s.d. 3.1, range 7.2-16.1). A standardized test of intelligence (WISC-III), a neuropsychological test battery (NEPSY-II), and a parental questionnaire on the child's development (FTF) were administered. The neuropsychological test profile of the LTx group was compared with that of a matched control group of healthy children. The LTx children achieved on an average normal FSIQ 94.0 and VIQ 99.6. Their Performance Intelligence Quotient (PIQ 88.9, p=0.043) was, however, significantly lower than the population mean. On neuropsychological assessment, the LTx children scored generally lower than the control group (p=0.004), a difference significant in sub-tests assessing visuospatial and visuoconstructive functions and social perception. No differences emerged in sub-tests of attention and executive functions, memory and learning, or language functions. LTx children are at increased risk for impairment in the visuospatial domain.

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