Sexual functioning in patients with end-stage liver disease before and after transplantation

Liver Transpl. 2006 Oct;12(10):1473-7. doi: 10.1002/lt.20812.


The effects of end-stage liver disease (ESLD) on sexual functioning are complex and often overlooked in the context of chronic illness and the transplantation evaluation. The aim of the present study is to report on the prevalence of sexual dysfunction in patients with ESLD presenting for liver transplantation evaluation, as well as to examine a cohort after transplantation. Participants included 173 consecutive adult outpatients with ESLD who presented for orthotopic liver transplantation evaluation. All transplant candidates underwent a psychiatric evaluation, and a sexual history was taken by the transplant psychiatrist. Patients who received a liver transplant were contacted by telephone for follow-up (n = 39). The following domains were explored: sexual frequency, satisfaction, ability to orgasm, sexual interest, and, for men, erectile dysfunction. Before transplantation, high levels of sexual dysfunction were found, with women showing higher levels of dysfunction than men. Increased age and more severe liver disease were related to lower sexual frequency and satisfaction. Contrary to previous work, the cause of disease (alcoholic liver disease) was not related to sexual functioning before transplantation. Those with erectile dysfunction before transplantation showed continued dysfunction after transplantation. An additional finding was an age and gender bias against taking a sexual history from older women. Overall, for both men and women, the findings point to continued and persistent sexual dysfunction after transplantation. Findings may help transplant teams routinely inquire into the sensitive domain of sexual functioning early on and thereby provide an opportunity for treatment. Liver Transpl 12:1473-1477, 2006. (c) 2006 AASLD.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Erectile Dysfunction / etiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Liver Diseases / epidemiology
  • Liver Diseases / etiology
  • Liver Diseases / pathology
  • Liver Diseases / surgery*
  • Liver Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Liver Transplantation / psychology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outpatients
  • Prevalence
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / epidemiology
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / etiology*
  • Time Factors