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Liver Transpl. 2011 Nov;17(11):1292-8. doi: 10.1002/lt.22382.

Renal function in patients undergoing transplantation for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis cirrhosis: time to reconsider immunosuppression regimens?

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Centre for Liver Research, National Institute for Health Research, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom.


Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is an independent risk factor for chronic kidney injury (CKI), yet the impact of liver transplantation (LT) on renal function in this at-risk group is not known. We compared the post-LT renal function of patients with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and a matched comparison group. Forty-eight consecutive patients who underwent transplantation for NASH between 2000 and 2008 in a single UK center were compared to non-NASH patients who were matched by age, sex, Model for End-Stage Liver Disease score, and estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR; calculated with the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease formula). In comparison with non-NASH patients, NASH patients had a significantly lower eGFR 3 months after LT (eGFR difference = 8.85 mL/minute/1.73 m(2), 95% confidence interval = 2.93-14.77). After adjustments for the effects of the body mass index, tacrolimus levels, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and hepatocellular carcinoma, the difference between the groups remained significant 3 months after LT (P = 0.001). These data were then analyzed at numerous time points after LT (6, 12, and 24 months), and the time did not significantly affect the difference between the groups (P = 0.17). Within 2 years, 31.2% of the NASH patients (15/48) had developed stage IIIb CKI, whereas only 8.3% of the non-NASH patients (4/48) did (P = 0.009). In conclusion, this study has identified NASH as an independent risk factor for renal dysfunction after LT. Renal-sparing immunosuppression regimens should be considered at the time of LT to reduce the development of kidney injury in NASH patients. The optimization of such regimens requires a prospective study.

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