Liver transplantation in children weighting less than 6 kg: the Bergamo experience.
ABSTRACT Liver transplantation (OLT) remains a major medical and surgical challenge in small patients. From October 1997 through July 2004, 17 babies less than 6 kg underwent 18 OLTs. Median age and weight were 3 months (range = 1 to 9) and 4.7 kg (range = 2.2 to 5.8). Two whole, one reduced, and 15 split-liver grafts (left lateral segments) were obtained from donors of median age and weight of 11.6 years (range = 0.5 to 62) and 50 kg (range = 7 to 63). Donor-to-recipient median weight ratio (D/R) was 9.1 kg (range = 1.3 to 17.6) and median graft-to-recipient weight ratio (GRWR) was 5% (range = 3.1 to 10). The incidence of biliary complications was 23%. The only vascular complication was a portal vein thrombosis (6%). Fourteen patients (79%) are alive with good graft function at a median follow-up of 39 months (range = 0.5 to 74). Three patients (all status 1) died on postoperative day 285 (brain death), 17 (multiorgan failure), and 229 (cardiovascular failure during retransplantation). Actuarial patient survivals at 6 months and 6 years are 94% and 78% while graft survivals are 89% and 74%, respectively. Currently all the patients listed as UNOS status 2 and 3 (73%) at the time of transplant are alive. During the same period one premature neonate (1.8 kg) who presented with fulminant hepatic failure died on the waiting list after 12 days. Our data confirm that the extensive use of a split-liver technique from small adult or pediatric cadaveric donors can offer the benefits of liver transplantation to small pediatric candidates with excellent results.