Frequency and outcomes of liver transplantation for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis in the United States

Gastroenterology. 2011 Oct;141(4):1249-53. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2011.06.061. Epub 2011 Jul 2.


Background & aims: The relative frequency of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) as an indication for liver transplantation and comparative outcomes following transplantation are poorly understood.

Methods: We analyzed the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients for primary adult liver transplant recipients from 2001 to 2009.

Results: From 2001 to 2009, 35,781 patients underwent a primary liver transplant, including 1959 for who NASH was the primary or secondary indication. The percentage of patients undergoing a liver transplant for NASH increased from 1.2% in 2001 to 9.7% in 2009. NASH is now the third most common indication for liver transplantation in the United States. No other indication for liver transplantation increased in frequency during the study period. Compared with other indications for liver transplantation, recipients with NASH are older (58.5±8.0 vs 53.0±8.9 years; P<.001), have a larger body mass index (>30 kg/m2) (63% vs 32%; P<.001), are more likely to be female (47% vs 29%; P<.001), and have a lower frequency of hepatocellular carcinoma (12% vs 19%; P<.001). Survival at 1 and 3 years after liver transplantation for NASH was 84% and 78%, respectively, compared with 87% and 78% for other indications (P=.67). Patient and graft survival for liver recipients with NASH were similar to values for other indications after adjusting for level of creatinine, sex, age, and body mass index.

Conclusions: NASH is the third most common indication for liver transplantation in the United States and is on a trajectory to become the most common. Outcomes for patients undergoing a liver transplant for NASH are similar to those for other indications.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Body Mass Index
  • Fatty Liver / mortality
  • Fatty Liver / surgery*
  • Female
  • Graft Survival
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Liver Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Liver Transplantation* / mortality
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Registries
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Survival Rate
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States