Long-term outcomes of liver transplantation for homozygous familial hypercholesterolaemia in Australia and New Zealand

Atherosclerosis. 2023 Dec:387:117305. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2023.117305. Epub 2023 Oct 10.


Background and aims: Homozygous familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH) causes severe cardiovascular disease from childhood. Conventional drug therapy is usually ineffective; lipoprotein apheresis (LA) is often required. Liver transplantation (LT) can correct the metabolic defect but is considered a treatment of last resort. Newer drugs including lomitapide and evinacumab might reduce the need for apheresis and LT. We sought to determine the long-term outcomes following LT in Australia and New Zealand.

Methods: We analysed demographic, biochemical and clinical data from all patients in Australia and New Zealand who have received LT for homozygous FH, identified from the Australia and New Zealand Liver and Intestinal Transplant Registry.

Results: Nine patients (five female; one deceased; seven aged between 3 and 6 years at the time of LT and two aged 22 and 26 years) were identified. Mean follow-up was 14.1 years (range 4-27). Baseline LDL-cholesterol off all treatment was 23 ± 4.1 mmol/L. Mean LDL-cholesterol on medical therapy (including maximal statin therapy in all patients, ezetimibe in three and LA in five) was 11 ± 5.7 mmol/L (p < 0.001). After LT, mean LDL-cholesterol was 2.6 ± 0.9 mmol/L (p = 0.004) with three patients remaining on statin therapy and none on LA. One patient died from acute myocardial infarction (AMI) three years after LT. Two patients required aortic valve replacement, more than 10 years after LT. The remaining six patients were asymptomatic after eight to 21 years of follow-up. No significant adverse events associated with immunosuppression were reported.

Conclusions: LT for homozygous FH was highly effective in achieving substantial long-term reduction in LDL-cholesterol concentrations in all nine patients. LT remains an option for severe cases of homozygous FH where drug therapy combined with apheresis is ineffective or unfeasible.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anticholesteremic Agents* / adverse effects
  • Blood Component Removal* / adverse effects
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Female
  • Homozygote
  • Homozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia*
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors* / therapeutic use
  • Hyperlipoproteinemia Type II* / diagnosis
  • Hyperlipoproteinemia Type II* / genetics
  • Hyperlipoproteinemia Type II* / therapy
  • Liver Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Myocardial Infarction* / complications
  • New Zealand


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Anticholesteremic Agents
  • Cholesterol, LDL