Liver transplantation for cholestasis associated with cystic fibrosis in the pediatric population

Ernesto P. Molmenti, Robert H. Squires, David Nagata, Jay S. Roden, Hebe Molmenti, Carlos G. Fasola, Claude Prestidge, Lisa D'Amico, Donna Casey, Edmund Q. Sanchez, Robert M. Goldstein, Marlon F. Levy, Margareta Benser, Wanda McPhail, Walter Andrews, John A. Andersen, Goran B. Klintmalm

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56 Scopus citations


The most common hepatic complications of cystic fibrosis (CF) are steatosis, fibrosis, biliary cirrhosis, atretic gallbladder, cholelithiasis, and sclerosing cholangitis. Cholestatic liver disease is a slow progressive disorder, but will stabilize for many patients. CF patients may suffer from the consequences of their liver disease and without liver transplantation, variceal hemorrhage, malnutrition, or end-stage liver disease can lead to death. Prospective data were collected and reviewed on 311 liver transplants performed in 283 patients at the Children's Medical Center of Dallas between October 1984 and November 2000. Ten children received an orthotopic liver transplant (OTLX) for end-stage liver disease associated with cystic fibrosis. Pulmonary function tests were obtained preoperatively in all cases. There were nine boys and one girl. Six are currently alive, and four are dead. Both patient and graft survival was 5.75 yr. Among those currently alive, mean patient and graft survival is 7.71 yr (range 0.10-12.62 yr). Mean patient and graft survival of those who died was 2.35 yr (range 0.78-5.33 yr). No survivor required re-transplantation and currently, all have normal serum aminotransferase values. Chronic sinusitis was not a significant pre- or post-transplant morbidity, although systematic radiographic evaluation of the sinuses did not occur. Pulmonary deaths occurred in three patients from pulmonary hemorrhage, pulmonary infection with Aspergillus and Candida glabrata, and acute bronchopneumonia associated with polymicrobial sepsis because of Pseudomonas, Klebsiella, and Candida albicans 1.44, 0.78, and 1.83 yr, respectively, after transplantation. The fourth death was associated with chronic rejection, and occurred 5.33 yr after transplantation. All non-survivors were below the 5th percentile for height and weight at the time of liver transplantation. Mean age at transplantation was 9.72 yr (range 1.23-19.09, median 9.61). Survivors were transplanted at a younger age than non-survivors (mean of 9.21 yr vs. 10.66 yr), and had shorter waiting times from diagnosis of end-stage liver disease to transplantation (6.87 months vs. 13.83 months). Eighty percentage (n = 8) of patients had pretransplant variceal bleeds (83% of survivors, 75% of non-survivors). While all non-survivors had a history of meconium ileus and preoperative need of pancreatic enzymes, only 67% of those alive experienced these complications. Preoperative forced vital capacity FVC was 103% for survivors and 95% for non-survivors. The corresponding numbers for forced expiratory flow (FEF) 25-75 were 74-84% respectively. Preoperative Aspergillus was identified in 30% of patients (n = 3). Two of these patients are alive. Cystic fibrosis constitutes an indication for 3.5% of pediatric liver transplants. Evaluation and transplantation for end-stage liver disease associated with cystic fibrosis should be undertaken at an early age. Most deaths were associated with pulmonary/septic events, and occurred less than 2 yr after OLTX. Those children who did not survive had poor growth and nutrition, prolonged waiting times prior to transplantation, were transplanted at an older age, and had a higher incidence of pancreatic insufficiency and meconium ileus. The presence of Asspergillus in the sputum does not constitute a contraindication for OLTX.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-97
Number of pages5
JournalPediatric Transplantation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2003


  • Aspergillus
  • Chloride transport
  • Cholestatic liver disease
  • Infection
  • Pulmonary function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Transplantation


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