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Abstract

Between 1986 and 1989, orthotopic liver transplantations were performed in our unit for 17 patients with incurable alveolar echinococcosis. Ten patients had hilar involvement (group I), and seven patients had posterior localization (five of them had chronic Budd-Chiari syndrome) (group II). The delay between diagnosis and the orthotopic liver transplantation was more than 48 mo in group Ia (six patients), less than 24 mo in group Ib (four patients) and less than 48 mo in group II. Previous operations were more common in group Ia than in group Ib and II. Five patients have died–four in group I and one in group II. The actuarial survival rate at 15 mo was 75%. Early reoperations were frequent (69%), mainly caused by rebleeding. Bacterial and fungal infections occurred only in group Ia (four cases) and group II (three cases). In eight patients (palliative group), residual foci of infected nonhepatic tissue occurred after surgery. The titer of specific antibodies decreased during the first 3 mo in all the patients but one. In patients with radical liver transplantation, the complete disappearance of specific antibodies occurred within 2 yr in four cases. In the remaining five patients, specific antibodies remained detectable, but no evidence of recurrence has been obtained up to now. In the palliative group, a peak of specific IgM occurred at 3 mo; an increase of specific IgG was observed later. The growth of residual parasitic foci was relatively slow, and all these patients remained asymptomatic with a mean follow-up of 19 mo. We conclude that orthotopic liver transplantation is feasible in incurable alveolar echinococcosis and could be proposed without delay to patients with parasitic Budd-Chiari syndrome or complicated secondary biliary cirrhosis. In the other cases, the best time to perform an orthotopic liver transplantation is more difficult to determine. Nevertheless, in the perspective of an orthotopic liver transplantation, the management of these patients has to change, and repetitive laparotomies for palliative surgical procedures have to be replaced by interventional radiology. (HEPATOLOGY 1991;13:1061–1070.)