Transplantation for primary biliary cirrhosis: Retrospective analysis of 400 patients in a single center



Orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) is an effective treatment for patients with advanced primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC). We have conducted a retrospective analysis of 400 consecutive patients transplanted for PBC between 1983 and 1999. Mean follow-up was 56 months. The proportion of patients grafted for PBC fell progressively, from 35% in 1990 (n = 80) to 21% in 1999 (n = 111); comparison of patients grafted in the 2 decades showed that the median age increased from 53 to 56 years and the median serum bilirubin at transplantation fell from 270 μmol/L to 132 μmol/L. The overall actuarial patient and graft survival at 1, 5, and 10 years is 83%, 78%, and 67% and 82%, 75%, and 61%, respectively. The net gain in 5-year survival compared with predicted survival in the absence of transplantation fell from 37% (range, 82%-90%) to 16% (range, 91%-99%). Multiple organ failure (16.1%) and sepsis (9.6%) were the major causes of early deaths ( <6 months). Recurrent PBC, diagnosed on allograft histology, was found in 68 (17%) patients, at a mean time of 36 months. We were unable to identify any pretransplantation donor or recipient factor, which identified those patients at risk of recurrence, although recurrence was much earlier and more frequently seen in patients receiving tacrolimus (P = .04). PBC remains a good indication for liver transplantation, with excellent survival rates. The age at transplantation increased although patients tended to be grafted earlier. Survival rates have increased although there is a reduction in the survival benefit. Recurrence may be common, but does not seem to affect medium-term graft survival.