Clinical course and management of inflammatory bowel disease after liver transplantation

Transplantation. 1998 Feb 15;65(3):393-6. doi: 10.1097/00007890-199802150-00017.


Background: Previous reports investigating the clinical course and management of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) after orthotopic liver transplant (OLT) have revealed conflicting results.

Methods: To determine the natural history and course of therapy for liver transplant patients with IBD, we reviewed the records of 35 patients, who underwent OLT between 1985 and 1996 and who had a history of either IBD (29 patients) or primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) without evidence of IBD before OLT (6 patients). Of 29 patients with IBD before OLT, 25 had a history of ulcerative colitis (UC) and 4 had Crohn's disease. Six patients had undergone total colectomy, one subtotal colectomy, and three partial colectomy before OLT. Mean follow-up after OLT was 37+/-6.4 months. Immunosuppression included cyclosporine, prednisone, and azathioprine in 34 patients and tacrolimus and prednisone in 1 patient.

Results: After OLT, 17 patients (49%) had quiescent disease and were receiving no additional medications other than standard immunosuppression to prevent organ rejection. Five patients (14%) had mild flares controlled with initiation of 5'-aminosalicylates (5'-ASA), and two patients (6%) required an increase in oral prednisone. Only one patient with PSC, without evidence of IBD before OLT, developed IBD after OLT. No patients required intravenous steroids or surgical intervention for active IBD.

Conclusions: (1) Standard postOLT immunosuppressive agents in patients undergoing OLT with IBD were able to adequately control disease activity after OLT in the majority of patients. (2) IBD flares after OLT were generally well controlled with aminosalicylates or oral steroids. (3) Aminosalicylates were helpful in the clinical management of IBD, even when patients were taking standard doses of steroids, azathioprine, and cyclosporine.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aminosalicylic Acids / therapeutic use
  • Cholangitis, Sclerosing / etiology
  • Cholangitis, Sclerosing / physiopathology
  • Cholangitis, Sclerosing / therapy
  • Colectomy
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / etiology
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / physiopathology
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / therapy
  • Crohn Disease / physiopathology
  • Crohn Disease / surgery
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / etiology
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / therapy*
  • Liver Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Postoperative Complications*
  • Prednisone / therapeutic use
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Aminosalicylic Acids
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Prednisone