Primary biliary cholangitis has the highest waitlist mortality in patients with cirrhosis and acute on chronic liver failure awaiting liver transplant

Clin Transplant. 2021 Sep 12;e14479. doi: 10.1111/ctr.14479. Online ahead of print.


Background: Data are sparse on etiology specific outcomes on waitlist (WL) and post-transplant outcomes among patients with acute on chronic liver failure (ACLF).

Methods and results: In a retrospective cohort of 14,774 adults from United network for organ sharing (UNOS) database listed for Liver transplantation (LT) with cirrhosis and ACLF (January 2013-June 2019), 40% were due to alcohol-associated liver disease (ALD), followed by hepatitis C virus (HCV) at 20%, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (19%), cryptogenic cirrhosis (7%), autoimmune hepatitis (5%), primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) at 3%, and 2% each for hepatitis B, primary biliary cholangitis (PBC), and metabolic etiology. Using competing risk analysis, cumulative risk of WL mortality was highest for PBC at 20.5% and lowest for PSC at 13.3%, P < .001. Compared with ALD as reference, WL mortality was higher for PBC (1.45 [1.16-1.82]), and similar for other etiologies, P < .001. Of this cohort, 9650 (65.3%) patients received LT, with 1-year. patient survival of 91.6% for PBC, worst for cryptogenic cirrhosis (89.5%) and best for PSC and ALD (93.4%), P < .001.

Conclusion: Among listed candidates with ACLF, those with PBC have highest WL mortality 1-year. post-transplant survival was excellent among recipients for PBC. If these findings are validated in prospective studies, liver disease etiology should be considered for LT selection among patients in ACLF.

Keywords: ACLF; UNOS; cirrhosis; organ failure; waitlist mortality.