Long-term survival and late graft loss in pediatric liver transplant recipients--a 15-year single-center experience

Liver Transpl. 2002 Jul;8(7):615-22. doi: 10.1053/jlts.2002.34149.


Increasing numbers of children undergo successful liver transplantation. Limited data exist on long-term survival and late graft loss. Survival and graft loss were studied in 376 primary liver graft recipients who survived more than 3 months after transplantation (80.5% of all primary graft recipients). Patient records were reviewed retrospectively for causes of graft loss. Risk factors were identified by analyzing graft, recipient, and posttransplant variables using multivariate Cox regression. One-, 5-, and 10-year actuarial graft survival rates in the study population were 94.6%, 87.3%, and 86.3%, respectively. Corresponding patient survival rates were 95.7%, 91.4%, and 90.4%. Forty-seven (12.5%) grafts were lost subsequently, 15 by patient death with preserved graft function. Survival rate after late retransplantation was 63.3%. Causes of late graft loss were infection (21.2%), posttransplant lymphoproliferative disease (PTLD, 21.2%), chronic rejection (17%), biliary complications (14.8%), and recurrence of malignant disease (8.5%). Independent risk factors for late graft loss and patient death included liver malignancy as primary disease, steroid resistant rejection, and PTLD. Graft loss rate was significantly increased for reduced-size grafts. Patients undergoing transplantation after 1991 and recipients of full-size grafts were more likely to survive. In conclusion, the long-term outcome for pediatric primary liver graft recipients surviving the early postoperative period is excellent except for patients with liver malignancy. There is no increased risk of late graft loss with the use of split or living related donor grafts. Technical complications are only a minor factor in late graft loss, but complications related to immunosuppression and infection remain a major hazard and must be addressed.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Graft Survival*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Liver Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Liver Transplantation* / immunology
  • Liver Transplantation* / mortality
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome