Objective: To analyze use of combined liver and kidney transplantation (CLKT) for patients with chronic primary diseases of both organs and for patients with hepatorenal syndrome.
Design: Retrospective case series.
Setting: Multiorgan transplantation service in a large university medical center.
Patients: A total of 98 patients underwent 99 CLKTs during a 16-year period; 76 had primary renal diseases, and 22 had hepatorenal syndrome. Patients receiving isolated liver and kidney transplants were analyzed for comparison.
Main outcome measures: Patient and graft survival, rejection rates, and need for hemodialysis before and after transplantation.
Results: Overall patient survival was 76%, 72%, and 70% at 1, 3, and 5 years, respectively; liver graft survival was 70%, 65%, and 65%; and kidney graft survival was 76%, 72%, and 70%. No risk factors analyzed for recipients or donors were associated significantly with early posttransplantation mortality or graft loss. In 28 patients who received monoclonal antibody induction therapy with interleukin 2 blockers, there were significantly fewer episodes of acute liver rejection. For patients with hepatorenal syndrome, CLKT did not confer a survival advantage over liver-only transplantation (1-year patient survival was 72% vs 66%; P = .88). The 1-year acute kidney rejection rate in the adult CLKT group was 14% vs 23% in a 5-year cadaveric renal transplantation cohort (P<.01).
Conclusions: First, CLKT is indicated in patients with dual organ disease and achieves excellent results. Second, CLKT for hepatorenal syndrome is indicated in patients receiving hemodialysis for longer than 8 weeks and confers advantages in patient survival and use of hospital resources. Third, the liver is immunoprotective for the kidney.