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Am J Surg Pathol. 1987 Jan;11(1):1-10.

Liver allograft rejection. An analysis of the use of biopsy in determining outcome of rejection.


Two-hundred-seventy biopsy specimens from 47 patients undergoing liver transplants at the University of Minnesota were analyzed to determine if histological features could predict the eventual outcome of rejection episodes. Thirty-six patients (76.6%) rejected the transplant. Of these, five either suffered acute liver failure due to rejection (two cases) or developed chronic rejection (three cases). Features of significance in predicting such a bad outcome were arteritis, bile duct paucity, or simultaneous hepatocellular ballooning and hepatocellular dropout and necrosis. Other features, such as type and intensity of infiltrate, degree of bile duct damage, or simple presence of hepatocellular necrosis, were not predictive of outcome. Our conclusion is that biopsy is useful in predicting outcome. Since many of the histologic findings of predictive value were not present in initial pretreatment biopsy specimens, follow-up biopsies of patients being treated for rejection are recommended to assess efficacy of therapy.

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