Current role of liver transplantation for the treatment of urea cycle disorders: A review of the worldwide English literature and 13 cases at Kyoto University



To address the current role of liver transplantation (LT) for urea cycle disorders (UCDs), we reviewed the worldwide English literature on the outcomes of LT for UCD as well as 13 of our own cases of living donor liver transplantation (LDLT) for UCD. The total number of cases was 51, including our 13 cases. The overall cumulative patient survival rate is presumed to be more than 90% at 5 years. Most of the surviving patients under consideration are currently doing well with satisfactory quality of life. One advantage of LDLT over deceased donor liver transplantation (DDLT) is the opportunity to schedule surgery, which beneficially affects neurological consequences. Auxiliary partial orthotopic liver transplantation (APOLT) is no longer considered significant for the establishment of gene therapies or hepatocyte transplantation but plays a significant role in improving living liver donor safety; this is achieved by reducing the extent of the hepatectomy, which avoids right liver donation. Employing heterozygous carriers of the UCDs as donors in LDLT was generally acceptable. However, male hemizygotes with ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency (OTCD) must be excluded from donor candidacy because of the potential risk of sudden-onset fatal hyperammonemia. Given this possibility as well as the necessity of identifying heterozygotes for other disorders, enzymatic and/or genetic assays of the liver tissues in cases of UCDs are essential to elucidate the impact of using heterozygous carrier donors on the risk or safety of LDLT donor-recipient pairs. In conclusion, LT should be considered to be the definitive treatment for UCDs at this stage, although some issues remain unresolved. (Liver Transpl 2005;11:1332–1342.)