Metabolic syndrome is associated with long-term morbidity and mortality after adult liver transplantation (LT). Whether pediatric LT recipients have a higher prevalence of metabolic syndrome remains controversial. In a cross-sectional study, we evaluated pediatric LT recipients aged 8–30 years using National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) protocols. LT recipients were matched by gender, race/ethnicity, and age with controls from NHANES. Pediatric LT recipients (n = 83), after adjusting for overweight/obesity and glucocorticoid use, had increased prevalence of prehypertension and hypertension, impaired glucose tolerance (IGT; 2-h glucose after oral glucose tolerance test ≥140 mg/dL), and low high-density lipoprotein compared to matched NHANES controls (n = 235) despite a lower prevalence of overweight/obesity. Among LT recipients, the adjusted odds of IGT doubled for every 7.5 years taking calcineurin inhibitors (odds ratio = 2.10, 95% confidence interval 1.06–4.17 per 7.5 years taking calcineurin inhibitors, p = 0.03). Among all subjects with IGT, LT recipients had a lower prevalence of overweight/obesity and less insulin resistance (homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance) than did controls with IGT. Among normal weight subjects, LT recipients were significantly more likely than controls to have prehypertension/hypertension, IGT, low high-density lipoprotein, and metabolic syndrome. Pediatric LT recipients have unique metabolic syndrome profiles and risk factors and will require tailored screening and management protocols.
This cross-sectional study shows that pediatric liver transplant recipients, after adjusting for obesity and glucocorticoid use, have a higher prevalence of prehypertension and hypertension, impaired glucose tolerance, and lower high-density lipoprotein than controls matched for gender, age, and race/ethnicity.