Longterm Survival After Liver Transplantation for Autoimmune Hepatitis: Results From the European Liver Transplant Registry

Liver Transpl. 2020 Jul;26(7):866-877. doi: 10.1002/lt.25739. Epub 2020 May 1.


The aim of this study was to analyze longterm patient and graft survival after liver transplantation for autoimmune hepatitis (AIH-LT) from the prospective multicenter European Liver Transplant Registry. Patient and liver graft survival between 1998 and 2017 were analyzed. Patients after AIH-LT (n = 2515) were compared with patients receiving LT for primary biliary cholangitis (PBC-LT; n = 3733), primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC-LT; n = 5155), and alcohol-related cirrhosis (AC-LT; n = 19,567). After AIH-LT, patient survival was 79.4%, 70.8%, and 60.3% and graft survival was 73.2%, 63.4%, and 50.9% after 5, 10, and 15 years of follow-up. Overall patient survival was similar to patients after AC-LT (P = 0.44), but worse than after PBC-LT (hazard ratio [HR], 1.48; P < 0.001) and PSC-LT (HR, 1.19; P = 0.002). AIH-LT patients were at increased risk for death (HR, 1.37-1.84; P < 0.001) and graft loss (HR, 1.35-1.80; P < 0.001) from infections compared with all other groups and had a particularly increased risk for lethal fungal infections (HR, 3.38-4.20; P ≤ 0.004). Excluding patients who died within 90 days after LT, risk of death after AIH-LT was superior compared with AC-LT (HR, 0.84; P = 0.004), worse compared with PBC-LT (HR, 1.38; P < 0.001) and similar compared with PSC-LT (P = 0.93). Autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) patients with living donor liver transplantation (LDLT) showed reduced survival compared with patients receiving donation after brain death (HR, 1.96; P < 0.001). In AIH-LT patients, overall survival is inferior to PBC-LT and PSC-LT. The high risk of death after AIH-LT is caused mainly by early fatal infections, including fungal infections. Patients with LDLT for AIH show reduced survival.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cholangitis, Sclerosing* / surgery
  • Hepatitis, Autoimmune* / epidemiology
  • Hepatitis, Autoimmune* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Biliary*
  • Liver Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Living Donors
  • Prospective Studies
  • Registries