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Liver transplantation for urea cycle disorders in pediatric patients: A single-center experience


Carlos O. Esquivel, Division of Abdominal Transplantation, Stanford University School of Medicine, 300 Pasteur Dr, MC 5730, Stanford, CA 94305, USA

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LT has emerged as a surgical treatment for UCDs. We hypothesize that LT can be safely and broadly utilized in the pediatric population to effectively prevent hyperammonemic crises and potentially improve neurocognitive outcomes. To determine the long-term outcomes of LT for UCDs, charts of children with UCD who underwent LT were retrospectively reviewed at an academic institution between July 2001 and May 2012. A total of 23 patients with UCD underwent LT at a mean age of 3.4 yr. Fifteen (65%) patients received a whole-liver graft, seven patients (30%) received a reduced-size graft, and one patient received a living donor graft. Mean five-yr patient survival was 100%, and allograft survival was 96%. Mean peak blood ammonia (NH3) at presentation was 772 μmol/L (median 500, range 178–2969, normal <30–50). After transplantation, there were no episodes of hyperammonemia. Eleven patients were diagnosed with some degree of developmental delay before transplantation, which remained stable or improved after transplantation. Patients without developmental delay before transplantation maintained their cognitive abilities at long-term follow-up. LT was associated with the eradication of hyperammonemia, removal of dietary restrictions, and potentially improved neurocognitive development. Long-term follow-up is underway to evaluate whether LT at an early age (<1 yr) will attain improved neurodevelopmental outcomes.