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Abstract

End-stage liver disease secondary to cryptogenic cirrhosis is the indication for orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) in 7% to 14% of recipients. However, there are no reports documenting the outcome of OLT for this indication. The aim of this study was to determine (1) survival and (2) the incidence of histological recurrence of cryptogenic cirrhosis after OLT. Between March 1985 and December 1994, 560 OLTs were performed at our institution. Of these, 39 transplants for cryptogenic cirrhosis were in patients who met the following criteria: antinuclear antibody < 1:40; negative anti–smooth muscle antibody, antimitochondrial antibody, polymerase chain reaction for hepatitis C virus, and hepatitis B surface antigen results; normal ceruloplasmin and α-1 antitrypsin phenotype; transferrin saturation < 65%; and liver biopsy specimen not suggestive of hemochromatosis or other known disorders. Histological recurrence was assessed with protocol liver biopsies in all patients who survived longer than 6 months. The mean age of cryptogenic recipients at the time of transplantation was significantly lower (40.6 years; range, 3 to 63 years) than that of noncryptogenic recipients (48.5 years; range, 1-70; P < .03). Median modified Child's-Pugh score was slightly higher for cryptogenic recipients at the time of transplantation (10.0 + 0.08 standard error of mean [SEM]), than for the noncryptogenic recipients (9.0 + 0.03 SEM; P < .02). Actuarial survival was 72% (+ 0.07 SEM) at 1 and 58% (+ 0.08 SEM) at 5 years for cryptogenic recipients compared with 89% at 1 and 80% at 5 years for noncryptogenic recipients. The difference in survival was significant (P < .001) at both 1 and 5 years. Among the 27 cryptogenic recipients surviving more than 6 months (mean follow-up, 5.5 years), 6 have persistent hepatitis histologically without apparent infectious, vascular, biliary, or drug origins. Four patients (15%) had chronic active hepatitis, and 2 (7%) had steatohepatitis. No cases of recurrent cryptogenic cirrhosis were seen. OLT for cryptogenic cirrhosis is associated with a poor outcome compared with other indications, hepatitis of uncertain origin occurred in 22% of cryptogenic recipients surviving longer than 6 months, and no evidence of recurrence of cryptogenic cirrhosis was seen thus far in follow-up.