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Minerva Gastroenterol Dietol. 2019 Jun;65(2):136-152. doi: 10.23736/S1121-421X.18.02529-1. Epub 2018 Oct 5.

Challenges and future developments in liver transplantation.

Author information

1
Unit of Hepatology and Liver Transplantation, Department of Medical Area (DAME), University of Udine, Udine, Italy - pierluigi.toniutto@uniud.it.
2
Unit of Hepatology and Liver Transplantation, Department of Medical Area (DAME), University of Udine, Udine, Italy.

Abstract

Liver transplantation (LT) has become the treatment of choice for a wide range of liver diseases in both adult and pediatric patients. Until recently, the largest proportion of LT in adults, were performed in patients with hepatitis C (HCV) related cirrhosis. The recent availability of safe and effective direct antiviral agents to cure HCV infection in almost all patients whatever the HCV genotype and severity of liver disease, will reduce the need for LT in this category of recipients. Thus, it is presumed that in the next 1 to 2 decades HCV related liver disease will diminish substantially, whereas non-alcoholic steato-hepatitis (NASH) will correspondingly escalate as an indication for LT. The greatest challenges facing LT remain the limited supply of donor organs, and the need for chronic immunosuppression, which represent the true obstacles to the greater application and durable success of the LT procedure. This review aimed to highlight, in different sections, the main open issues and future developments in LT. These will be focused to explore current and future strategies to maximize the use of limited organs, to offer an update on potential new approaches to immunosuppression and to imagine new indications for LT when the number of patients awaiting transplants for HCV related liver disease is reduced.

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