Donor livers with steatosis are safe to use in hepatitis C virus–positive recipients

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Abstract

Whether donor graft steatosis affects liver function and influences survival after liver transplantation is still open to debate. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of donor graft steatosis on long-term liver histology after liver transplantation. One hundred sixteen consecutive liver transplants were performed in 56 hepatitis C virus–positive (HCV+) patients and 60 HCV− patients who had protocol liver biopsies at 6, 12, 24, and 36 months after liver transplantation. Liver biopsies were obtained from all grafts. No steatosis was seen in 50.9% of the biopsies taken at the back table before implantation, whereas steatosis was mild in 39.6% of the samples and moderate/severe in 9.5% of the samples. In the 56 HCV+ recipients, fibrosis stage 3 was seen in 22.2% and stage 4 was seen in 2.2% of 45 biopsies at 36 months after liver transplantation. There was no correlation between donor graft steatosis and fibrosis after liver transplantation, regardless of the etiology of liver disease. No difference in 36-month survival after liver transplantation was seen, regardless of whether the etiology of the patient's liver disease was HCV-related or non–HCV-related (80.3% versus 75%; P = 0.4) and whether the steatosis in the graft was reportedly absent, mild, or moderate/severe (79.7% versus 73.9% versus 81.1%; P = 0.7). In conclusion, nearly one-quarter of HCV+ recipients have precirrhosis/cirrhosis 3 years after liver transplantation. Steatotic grafts do not seem to exacerbate the progression of fibrosis in HCV+ recipients, nor do they seem to negatively affect 3-year patient survival. Liver Transpl 15:619–628, 2009. © 2009 AASLD.

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