Patients transplanted for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis are at increased risk for postoperative cardiovascular events


  • Potential conflict of interest: Nothing to report.

  • This research was supported by investigator-initiated funds.


Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is an independent predictor of coronary artery disease (CAD). Our aim was to compare the incidence of cardiovascular (CV) events between patients transplanted for NASH and alcohol (ETOH)-induced cirrhosis. This is a retrospective cohort study (August 1993 to March 2010) of 242 patients (115 NASH and 127 ETOH) with ≥12 months follow-up after liver transplantation (LT). Those with hepatocellular carcinoma or coexisting liver diseases were excluded. Kaplan-Meier's and Cox's proportional hazard analyses were conducted to compare survival. Logistic regression was used to calculate the likelihood of CV events, defined as death from any cardiac cause, myocardial infarction, acute heart failure, cardiac arrest, arrhythmia, complete heart block, and/or stroke requiring hospitalization <1 year after LT. Patients in the NASH group were older (58.4 versus 53.3 years) and were more likely to be female (45% versus 18%; P < 0.001). They were more likely to be morbidly obese (32% versus 9%), have dyslipidemia (25% versus 6%), or have hypertension (53% versus 38%; P < 0.01). On multivariate analysis, NASH patients were more likely to have a CV event <1 year after LT, compared to ETOH patients, even after controlling for recipient age, sex, smoking status, pretransplant diabetes, CV disease, and the presence of metabolic syndrome (26% versus 8%; odds ratio = 4.12; 95% confidence interval = 1.91-8.90). The majority (70%) of events occurred in the perioperative period, and the occurrence of a CV event was associated with a 50% overall mortality. However, there were no differences in patient, graft, or CV mortality between groups. Conclusions: CV complications are common after LT, and NASH patients are at increased risk independent of traditional cardiac risk factors, though this did not affect overall mortality. (HEPATOLOGY 2012;56:1741–1750)