Clinical Presentation, Treatment, and Mortality Rate in Liver Transplant Recipients With Coronavirus Disease 2019: A Systematic Review and Quantitative Analysis

Transplant Proc. 2020 Jul 30;S0041-1345(20)32634-8. doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2020.07.012. Online ahead of print.


Liver transplant recipients may be at increased risk for adverse outcomes with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection because of chronic immunosuppression and associated comorbidities. There is a paucity of literature describing clinical presentation, treatments, and outcomes in liver transplant recipients with COVID-19. A systematic search was performed for articles published up to June 15, 2020, revealing 223 liver transplant recipients with COVID-19 in 15 studies. Patients most commonly presented with fever (66.7%), dyspnea (34.0%), and diarrhea (28.4%). Of these, 77.7% required hospitalization, 24% had mild disease, 40% had moderate disease, and 36% had severe disease. Immunosuppression was modified in 32.8% of recipients. The case fatality rate was 19.3%. Dyspnea on presentation, diabetes mellitus, and age 60 years or older were significantly associated with increased mortality (P ≤ .01) with a trend to higher mortality rate observed in those with hypertension and those receiving corticosteroids at the time of COVID-19 diagnosis. The median time from symptoms to death was 11.5 days (2-45 days). In conclusion, liver transplant recipients with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 are overrepresented with regard to severe disease and hospitalizations. Older liver transplant patients with diabetes mellitus or hypertension, who are on maintenance corticosteroids, with a diagnosis of COVID-19 and describing breathlessness should be aggressively monitored for signs of deterioration because of the risk for mortality.