Liver transplantation in children with glycogen storage disease: controversies and evaluation of the risk/benefit of this procedure

Pediatr Transplant. 2008 Mar;12(2):137-45. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3046.2007.00803.x.


GSD-I, III, and IV are congenital disorders of glycogen metabolism that are commonly associated with severe liver disease. Liver transplantation has been proposed as a therapy for these disorders. While liver transplantation corrects the primary hepatic enzyme defect, the extrahepatic manifestations of GSD often complicate post-transplantation management. Upon review of the English-language literature, 42 children <19 yr of age were discovered to have undergone liver transplantation for complications associated with GSD (18 patients with GSD-Ia, six with GSD-Ib, one with GSD-III, 17 with GSD-IV). An additional two children followed at our institution have undergone liver transplantation for GSD complications (one with GSD-Ia and one with GSD-III) and are included in this review. The risks and benefits of liver transplantation should be considered prior to performing liver transplantation in these metabolic disorders, particularly in GSD-Ia. As liver pathology is not the major source of morbidity in GSD-Ib and GSD-IIIa, liver transplantation should only be performed when there is high risk for HCC or evidence of substantial cirrhosis or liver dysfunction. Liver transplantation remains the best option for treatment of GSD-IV.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Glycogen Storage Disease / complications
  • Glycogen Storage Disease / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Liver Transplantation*
  • Organ Transplantation
  • Risk Assessment