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Abstract

Additional markers are required to identify patients on the orthotopic liver transplant (OLT) waiting list at increased risk of death and adverse clinical events. Serum ferritin concentration is a marker of varied pathophysiological events and is elevated with increased liver iron concentration, hepatic necroinflammation, and systemic illness, all of which may cause a deterioration in liver function and clinical status. The aim of this study was to determine whether serum ferritin concentration is an independent prognostic factor in subjects awaiting OLT. This is a dual-center retrospective study. The study cohort consisted of 191 consecutive adults with cirrhosis accepted by the Queensland (Australia) Liver Transplant Service between January 2000 and June 2006 and a validation cohort of 131 patients from University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Transplant Center. In the study cohort, baseline serum ferritin greater than 200 μg/L was an independent factor predicting increased 180-day and 1-year waiting list mortality. This effect was independent of model for end-stage liver disease (MELD), hepatocellular carcinoma, age, and sex. Subjects with higher serum ferritin had increased frequency of liver-related clinical events. The relationship between serum ferritin and waiting list mortality was confirmed in the UCLA cohort; all deceased patients had serum ferritin greater than 400 μg/L. Serum ferritin greater than 500 μg/L and MELD were independent risk factors for death. Conclusion: Serum ferritin concentration is an independent predictor of mortality-related and liver-related clinical events. Baseline serum ferritin identifies a group of “higher-risk” patients awaiting OLT and should be investigated as an adjunct to MELD in organ allocation. (HEPATOLOGY 2010)