The impact of liver transplantation on the survival in fulminant hepatic failure was evaluated in a retrospective study including 87 patients admitted to Rigshospitalet over a three and a half year period before and a three and a half year period after the Danish liver transplantation programme was started. The number of admissions increased by 178% in the second period. Fifty-two percent of the patients had acetaminophen induced liver failure, which over the last seven years has become the most common cause of severe acute liver disease in Denmark. In about half of the patients high volume plasmapheresis was used as liver-assist either alone or in combination with liver transplantation. Three patients in grade 4 hepatic coma (one with Hepatitis B, two with acetaminophen intoxication) were withdrawn from the waiting list for emergency liver transplantation after high volume plasmapheresis due to recovery. In patients with an estimated survival chance of less than 5-10% liver transplantation was performed with a survival rate of 60%. The survival rate for the non-liver transplanted patients was 49% in the same period compared to 30% in the three and a half year period before liver transplantation started.
BACKGROUND: Survival after liver transplantation for fulminant hepatic failure has been reported to be less favorable than survival for patients with chronic liver diseases. METHODS: We have studied all patients (n=229) undergoing highly urgent liver transplantation from 1990 to 2001 in the Nordic countries. The impact of patient and donor characteristics, with emphasis on donor-recipient ABO matching (identical, compatible, incompatible), has been studied. RESULTS: One-year and 3-year patient survival rates were 73% and 70% for the total period and 86% and 78% for the last 4-year period. Patients receiving an ABO-compatible liver allograft had significantly lower patient survival rates than those receiving an ABO-identical donor organ (1-year patient survival rates 66% of vs. 79%, P=0.03). Graft survival rates varied less (1-year graft survival rates of 64% vs. 74%, P=0.09). Patients receiving an ABO-incompatible liver allograft had patient survival rates of 70% at 1 year and 60% at 3 years but low graft survival rates (40% and 30% at 1 and 3 years). In a multiple regression analysis, significant independent predictors of poor patient survival were early year of transplantation, ABO-compatible donor, high donor age, and waiting time more than 3 days and less than 9 days. CONCLUSION: Survival after highly urgent liver transplantation has improved and is comparable to that observed in patients receiving a liver allograft because of chronic liver disease. Patients receiving an ABO-identical donor organ had significantly higher patient survival rates compared with those receiving an ABO-compatible donor liver.
During the first 12 months of the Danish Liver Transplantation program, which began in October 1990, 21 transplantations were performed in 11 women, six men and three children. One patient required a retransplant. Fourteen operations were performed electively and six patients were transplanted for acute and subacute fulminant liver failure and coma, two patients had reduced size livers because of large donor liver. There were no peroperative deaths. One of the elective patients died after three weeks from multiorgan failure and sepsis. Two of the emergency patients died after 20 and 22 days. One from graft dysfunction due to stenosis of the celiac trunk and the other of exudative pericarditis. One patient died from chronic rejection and CMV-infection after seven months. Complications were relatively few and acute rejection occurred in 40% of the patients. Fifteen patients are discharged with normal liver function and 11 of these were back at work, school or previous functions in the home. It is concluded that these results are comparable to the best results from other centres but that 21 transplants in 12 months must be a minimum activity.
Liver transplantation was previously only offered to patients under 60 years of age. We have analyzed the outcome after acceptance on the waiting list and after liver transplantation of patients over 60 years old. A total of 150 patients over 60 years old were listed for a first liver transplantation during 1990-1998. The annual number increased throughout the period. Primary biliary cirrhosis, primary sclerosing cholangitis, and acute hepatic failure were the most frequent diagnoses. A total of 119 patients received a first liver allograft. The patient 1-year survival was 75% and 3-year survival 62%, which was not significantly lower (P = 0.21) than that of the younger patients. When correcting for year of transplantation, the survival was, however, moderately but significantly lower than among the younger patients. Survival among those > 65 years (n = 38) did not differ from that of patients 60-65 years of age (n = 81). We conclude that an increasing number of patients over 60 years old can be listed for liver transplantation and receive a liver allograft with highly satisfying results.
BACKGROUND: Liver transplantation has become an established therapeutic option for patients with life-threatening liver disease. The aim of the present study was to analyse the results of and developments in liver transplantation in the Nordic countries during a 15-year period. METHODS: Data on all patients receiving a liver allograft in the Nordic countries during 1982-98 and waiting list data for all patients listed for a liver transplantation after 1989 were obtained from the Nordic Liver Transplantation Registry. RESULTS: A total of 1485 first liver transplantations were performed during 1982-98. The annual number of first liver transplantations increased steadily up to 1993, thereafter remaining around 150-170 per year. There are major differences between countries both in the number of transplants adjusted to populations performed per year, with more than twice as many performed in Sweden as in Norway, and in the relative distribution of patients in accordance with diagnosis. The number of patients more than 60 years old increased and comprised 13%-14% of the total patient population during 1996-98. Primary biliary cirrhosis, primary sclerosing cholangitis, acute hepatic failure, malignant liver disease, and alcoholic cirrhosis are the five most frequent diagnoses. The over-all 1-year patient survival probability has increased from 66% among patients receiving a transplant in 1982-89 to 83% in 1995-1998. The waiting time remains stable, with a median waiting time of 35 days during 1990-98. The mortality of patients while on the waiting list is 7.4% and is not increasing. CONCLUSION: Results of liver transplantation in the Nordic countries are very similar to those obtained in other countries. Waiting time and mortality remain low. There are, however, major differences between the countries both as to the number of transplantations performed and as to distribution of diagnoses.
The indication for liver transplantation is the end stage of liver disease. Liver transplantations are not carried out in Denmark at present, one of the reasons being that it requires introduction of the brain death criterion, because the donor liver must be removed during maintained circulation. To date (November 1988), liver transplantations have been carried out abroad on seven Danes. One of these died after operation, one has chronic rejection and is to have retransplantation while the remaining five patients are well. In Europe (including Sweden, Norway and Finland) and USA, more than 5,000 patients have been liver transplanted. The one-year survival is approximately 75%. After this, only few liver-related deaths occur and the majority of patients can resume their previous activities. A total of 18 Danes have been assessed in transplantation centres abroad: Two are waiting for transplantation in the near future and seven have been accepted for transplantation at a later date, depending on the course of the disease. In a number of Danes, liver transplantation has been considered indicated but has not been effectuated because the disease was so advanced at the time of referral, that the patient died before transfer or the patient did not desire operation abroad.
Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) is the most common indication for liver transplantation in the Nordic countries. Because these patients are difficult to evaluate with regard to timing of liver transplantation, it is important to establish predictors of post-transplant survival.
Data from two groups of patients receiving liver allografts during 1982-2001 were recorded: (a) PSC patients and (b) comparison patients. Outcome following transplantation has been recorded for all patients. Regression analyses have been performed for PSC patients to analyse predictors of patient and graft survival.
A total of 245 PSC and 618 comparison patients received a first liver allograft in the period 1982 until the end of the study. The overall 1-, 3- and 5-year patient survival rates were 82%, 77% and 75%, and 80%, 77% and 74% in the PSC group and comparison group, respectively. Survival following transplantation has increased with time in both the PSC and the comparison group. Recent year of transplantation, no previous hepatobiliary surgery and a lower MELD score were predictors of survival following transplantation for PSC patients. PSC patients had a higher rate of re-transplantations (13% versus 8%, P = 0.01). Predictors of re-transplantation in PSC patients were an episode of early rejection and vascular thrombosis.
In PSC patients, year of transplantation, previous hepatobiliary surgery and MELD score are predictors of survival following transplantation and these patients are more frequently in need of re-transplantation compared to the comparison group.
The Nordic collaboration in organ transplantation was initiated nearly 30 years ago in the frame of Scandiatransplant. With a recent formalization of its structure, Scandiatransplant has become a modern organ exchange organization. The increasing activities of Scandiatransplant clearly reflect the continuously growing need for a close and firm Nordic collaboration in the transplantation field, for the benefit of the numerous patients waiting for an organ transplant.