[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Central nervous system (CNS) complications are common after liver transplantation (LT). According to the literature, the most common causes are infections and the neurotoxicity of immunosuppressive drugs (cyclosporine and tacrolimus). The aim of this study was to evaluate the incidence, clinical presentations, etiologies, and outcomes of CNS complications in a series of 395 consecutive LT recipients whose immunosuppression regimen was designed for low tacrolimus blood levels. An analysis of the 12-hour trough concentrations of tacrolimus in the study population showed that the target drug levels, which were designed to maintain minimal immunosuppression, were usually achieved. In all, 64 patients (16.2%) developed major neurological symptoms (37 within 30 days of LT). None of the observed CNS complications were caused by infections (viral, bacterial, or fungal), and only 3 of the 395 patients (0.8%) received a diagnosis of tacrolimus-related leukoencephalopathy. Cerebrovascular disease was identified in 15 patients (3.8%; 8 had cerebral hemorrhages, 5 had ischemic strokes, and 2 had subdural hemorrhages). Pontine myelinolysis was found in 2 patients (0.5%). Notably, no clear cause was identified for the remaining 44 cases (11.1%): brain imaging was negative for 22 cases, and diffuse hypoxic changes were present for the other 22. CNS complications were significantly associated with a reduction in 3-month patient survival (88.8% versus 95.4%) and 5-year patient survival (57.3% versus 84.1%). Among the pretransplant variables that were analyzed, the incidence of portosystemic encephalopathy, the peak serum bilirubin levels, and the lowest serum total cholesterol levels were significantly different between the 64-patient group with CNS complications and the asymptomatic group of 331 patients.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We followed the efficacy of long-term lamivudine monotherapy in preventing development of de novo hepatitis B (DNHB) in a large cohort of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg)-negative recipients with grafts from hepatitis B core antibody (HBcAb)-positive donors. Recipients were observed over a long follow-up. Between July 1999 and December 2008, 45 patients (median age 54, range 19-67) who were HBsAg negative before transplantation were included in the study of monoprophylaxis with lamivudine starting on post-operative day 1, and continuing for life. Mean follow-up: 37.9 months; median 32.1 months (range 2.4-117). No suspension of therapy was reported during the study. Post-transplantation, no DNHB was observed in follow-up: all 45 HBsAg-negative recipients remained HBsAg and HBV DNA negative. Thirty-four of these HBsAg-negative recipients were alive at conclusion of the study. A total of 11 patients died, five of HCV recurrence, two of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) recurrence, two of disseminated KSV infection, and two of multiorgan failure because of early graft dysfunction. Patient and graft survival of HBsAg-negative recipients with HBcAb-positive donor grafts (45 cases) were not significantly different from those of the HBsAg-negative recipients with HBcAb-negative donor grafts (302 cases). In our experience, lamivudine monoprophylaxis provided complete protection against HBV reactivation and showed long-term efficacy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To assess the safety of transarterial treatments of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and the statistical correlation of various patient factors with the frequency of complications, in selected patients with cirrhosis when adhering to well-standardized protocols.
Three hundred twenty consecutive patients with unresectable HCC were treated with transarterial chemoembolization, oil chemoembolization, and embolization. A total of 712 treatments were performed, with an average of 2.3 treatments for each patient. The epirubicin dose was adjusted according to defined laboratory criteria. An early complication was defined as one that occurred within 4 weeks of treatment. Complications were classified as minor and major and assessed by using clinical and laboratory data.
Of the 712 procedures, 21 complications (2.9%) occurred in 17 of the 320 patients (5.3%). Major complications included acute liver failure (n = 1, 0.1%), variceal bleeding (n = 2, 0.3%), moderate-to-severe ascites (n = 4, 0.6%), sepsis (n = 3, 0.4%), cholecystitis (n = 1, 0.1%), and diverticulitis (n = 1, 0.1%). Minor complications were hepatic artery damage, including spontaneously resolved dissection (n = 3, 0.4%), mild encephalopathy (n = 1, 0.1%), and aspartate aminotransferase/alanine aminotransferase levels greater than 500 U/L (n = 5, 0.7%). The 30-day mortality rate was 0.003% (n = 1). Constitutional syndrome (P = .0001), Child-Pugh score (P = .0001), ascites (P = .037), and the Model for End-Stage Liver Disease score (P = .02) were found to have a statistically significant correlation with complications after univariate analysis. Child-Pugh score (P = .012) and constitutional syndrome (P = .003) were found to have a statistically significant correlation with complications after logistic regression analysis.
Transarterial treatments can be considered safe in patients with Child class A and B cirrhosis when an adjusted dose of epirubicin is used according to body surface, severity of liver disease, and white blood cell count. Accurate patient selection and procedure-related factors may reduce the frequency of complications and help preserve liver function.
Journal of vascular and interventional radiology: JVIR 08/2009; 20(7):896-902. · 1.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this study is to assess the clinical burden of silent coronary artery disease (CAD) in cirrhotic candidates for liver transplantation (LT), and to evaluate the usefulness of a CAD screening approach. Between July 1999 and January 2006, we evaluated 627 LT candidates. All of them underwent a detailed clinical history. Sixteen had a previous diagnosis of CAD or symptoms suggestive (2.5%). The remaining 611 underwent further tests according to a predefined protocol, including EKG, echocardiogram and, on the basis of CAD risk factors, heart stress tests. Selective coronary angiography (SCA) was performed in the 30 patients with positive heart stress test: in only 2 did SCA show any CAD, and in both it was subcritical disease requiring neither intervention nor contraindicating LT. The 611 screened patients continued their follow-up until study closure or death. No coronary events occurred in the study population in a mean follow-up of 32.50 months (+/- 23.67 DS). No perioperative mortality related to CAD occurred in the 233 transplanted patients. In conclusion, no prognostic advantage was achieved by following a strict CAD screening protocol, leading us to believe that the cost-effectiveness of a similar screening can be unacceptably high in our setting.
American Journal of Transplantation 06/2009; 9(5):1151-7. · 6.19 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The shortage of organs for orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) has forced transplantation centers to expand the donor pool by using donors traditionally labeled as "extended criteria donors." One such example is OLT using a donor with advanced age.
We retrospectively evaluated 10 patients who received a liver graft from cadaveric donors older than 80 years. We analyzed pretransplantation donor and recipient characteristics, as well as the evolution of the recipients.
All 10 donors were older than 80 years (median age, 83.5; range, 80-93). No steatosis (>30%) was accepted in the older donor group. Medium follow-up was 19.5 months. The most frequent cause for OLT was hepatitis C virus (HCV) cirrhosis (8/10 patients). We had 1 case of primary nonfunction, 1 patient died immediately after surgery because of extrahepatic complications (cardiac arrest), and 2 other patients had a severe HCV recurrence and died after 1 and 2 years from OLT, respectively. Five patients had HCV recurrence and biliary complications were present in 60% of the patients. No cases of acute or chronic rejection were described. Overall survival rates after 1 and 3 years were 80% and 40%, respectively.
Old donor age is not an absolute contraindication to OLT. Liver grafts from donors older than 80 years can be used knowing that there is a high risk of postoperative complications. Furthermore, the increased risk of developing severe HCV recurrence, related to older donor age, suggests that such livers should be used in HCV-negative recipients.