Long-term management of the liver transplant patient: diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and obesity

Liver Transpl. 2001 Nov;7(11 Suppl 1):S13-21. doi: 10.1053/jlts.2001.29167.


1. As long-term survival improves after liver transplantation, cardiovascular complications are emerging as a major cause of late morbidity and mortality. It seems reasonable to correct the potentially reversible cardiovascular risk factors of diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and obesity, in addition to hypertension. 2. The results of liver transplantation in diabetics are acceptable in terms of morbidity, mortality, and prevalence of posttransplant diabetes, but the poor outcomes described in some series suggest that more extensive testing for macro- and microvascular disease may become necessary. 3. The management of diabetes in liver transplant recipients is not substantially different from its management in non-transplant patients, except that steroid reduction or withdrawal and minimizing doses of calcineurin inhibitors are beneficial. 4. Hyperlipidemia occurs in all solid-organ transplantation, with prevalence rates the lowest for liver transplant recipients. Following liver transplantation, between 15% and 40% of recipients on average have increased plasma cholesterol levels and about 40% have hypertriglyceridemia. Dietary changes, weight reduction, exercise and statins are the mainstays of therapy. 5. Retrospective studies suggest that long-term survival of obese recipients after liver transplantation does not differ from nonobese recipients. Posttransplant weight gain occurs in most recipients, and approximately two thirds become overweight. The management of posttransplant obesity is similar to that in non-transplant settings.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus / therapy
  • Humans
  • Hyperlipidemias / etiology
  • Hyperlipidemias / therapy
  • Liver Diseases / complications
  • Liver Diseases / surgery
  • Liver Diseases / therapy
  • Liver Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Long-Term Care*
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / diet therapy