Recurrence of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and cryptogenic cirrhosis following orthotopic liver transplantation in the context of the metabolic syndrome


  • Conflict of interest: The authors have no conflict of interest to declare.

Corresponding author: Marwan Abouljoud, MD, Division of Transplant and Hepatobiliary Surgery, 2799 W. Grand Blvd., CFP2, Detroit, MI 48202, USA.

Tel.: +1 313 916 2941; fax: +1 313 916 4353;




Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and cryptogenic cirrhosis (CC) are increasing indications for orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT). The aim of this study is to describe our outcomes and delineate predictors of recurrence of NASH and CC after OLT.


This is a retrospective study from 1996 to 2008. Donor and recipient demographics, metabolic profile, insulin and steroid intake, immunosuppression regimen, operative factors, outcomes, and pathologies were reviewed. Fisher's exact test, Cox regression models, and Kaplan–Meier plots were used.


A total of 83 patients were included. Recurrence occurred in 20 patients. Thirty-four percent of the patients with metabolic syndrome (MS) had recurrence of NASH or CC compared with 13% of the patients without MS (p = 0.05). Recurrence also occurred in 32% of the patients with hypertension (HTN) vs. 12% in those without HTN (p = 0.05). Thirty-seven percent of those on insulin had recurrence vs. 6% of those not on insulin (p = 0.05). Five-yr survival probability for patients with MS, HTN, and insulin use was 52%, 61%, and 58%, respectively.


Higher recurrence of NASH and CC was associated with presence of MS, HTN and insulin use. Recurrence should be further evaluated in larger studies, with special emphasis on management of MS and prevention strategies.