Liver transplantation for Budd-Chiari syndrome: A European study on 248 patients from 51 centres.

Transplantation Unit, Department of Surgery, University Hospitals, 1211 Geneva 14, Switzerland.
Journal of Hepatology (Impact Factor: 10.4). 04/2006; 44(3):520-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhep.2005.12.002
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The results of liver transplantation for Budd-Chiari syndrome (BCS) are poorly known and the role and timing of the procedure are still controversial. The aim of this study was to investigate the results of transplantation for BCS, focusing on overall outcome, on prognostic factors and on the impact of the underlying disease.
An enquiry on 248 patients representing 84% of the patients transplanted for BCS in the European Liver Transplantation Registry between 1988 and 1999.
Of the 248 patients, 70.4% were female and 29.6% male. The mean age was 35.7 years. The overall actuarial survival was 76% at 1 year, 71% at 5 years and 68% at 10 years. 77% of deaths occurred in the first 3 months: 47% were due to infection and multiple organ failure, and 18% to graft failure or hepatic artery thrombosis. Late mortality (>1 year) occurred in nine patients, due to BCS recurrence in four of them. The only pre-transplant predictors of mortality on multivariate analysis (Cox) were impaired renal function and a history of a shunt.
Liver transplantation for BCS is an effective treatment, irrespective of the underlying cause, and should be considered before renal failure occurs.

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    ABSTRACT: Because of the rarity of Budd-Chiari syndrome (BCS), the flow chart of management comes from expert opinion and is not evidence based. To report an update on the management of BCS. I performed a review on published papers on BCS in an attempt to speculate in particular on the timing and the choice of treatment. Some authors suggest that the management of BCS should follow a step-wise strategy. Anticoagulation and medical therapy should be the first-line treatment. Revascularization or transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt should be performed in case of no response to medical therapy. Orthotopic liver transplant should be used as a rescue therapy. The biggest criticism of this flow chart is that it is based on the assumption that patients with BCS should receive further treatment only when hemodynamic effects on portal hypertension become clinically evident, thus paying little attention to the chronic ischemic liver damage effects on hepatic function and to the possibility of preventing liver failure by relieving impaired hepatic veins outflow. Recently, I presented a proposal of a new algorithm for the management of BCS, in which medical therapy alone is suggested only for patients without any sign of portal hypertension, irrespective of whether early interventional treatment is suggested when either any symptoms or signs of portal hypertension appear, with the aim of preventing hepatic fibrosis development, disease progression, and finally improving outcome. Given that the benefit of treatments for BCS is not under debate, guidelines for the management of BCS should be re-evaluated and updated, with particular attention to both the timing and the choice of treatment.
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    ABSTRACT: Budd-Chiari syndrome involves obstruction of hepatic venous outflow tracts at various levels from small hepatic veins to the inferior vena cava and is the result of thrombosis or its fibrous sequelae. There is a conspicuous difference in its etiology in the West and the East. Myeloproliferative disease predominates in the West and obstruction of the vena cava predominates in the East. The clinical presentation and clinical manifestations are so varied that it should be suspected in any patient with acute or chronic liver dysfunction. It should be treated with step-wise management. First-line therapy should be anticoagulation with medical treatment of the underlying illness, and interventional revascularization and TIPS are indicated in the event of a lack of response to medical therapy. Liver transplantation may be indicated as a rescue treatment or for fulminant cases with promising results. This step-by-step strategy has achieved a 5-year transplant-free survival rate of 70% and a 5-year overall survival rate of 90%. Living donor liver transplantation can also be used for patients with Budd-Chiari syndrome if deceased donor livers are scarce, but it requires a difficult procedure particularly with regard to venous outflow reconstruction.
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