Auxiliary versus orthotopic liver transplantation for acute liver failure

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Abstract

Background/Aims/Methods:

We report 1-year results after auxiliary liver transplantation for acute liver failure in a cohort of 47 patients transplanted in 12 European centers as compared with those of 384 consecutive patients undergoing orthotopic liver transplantation for acute liver failure in the Eurotransplant area.

Results:

One-year patient survival resp. retransplant-free patient survival did not differ between orthotopic (61%, 232/384 resp. 52%, 200/384) and auxiliary liver transplantation (62%, 29/47 resp. 53%, 25/47). One-year patient survival resp. retransplant-free patient survival after auxiliary partial orthotopic liver transplantation was 71% (25/35) resp. 60% (21/35), not significantly different from orthotopic liver transplantation (61%, 232/384 resp. 52%, 200/384), while both transplantation techniques had better 1-year patient survival resp. retransplant-free patient survival than after heterotopic auxiliary liver transplantation (33%, 4/12) (p<0.05). Primary nonfunction was more frequent after heterotopic auxiliary liver transplantation (3/12, 25%) than after orthotopic liver transplantation (21/384, 5.5%), while the incidence did not differ between orthotopic liver transplantation and auxiliary partial orthotopic liver transplantation (3/35, 8.5%). Portal vein thrombosis was more frequent after both heterotopic auxiliary liver transplantation (5/12, 42%) and auxiliary partial orthotopic liver transplantation (5/35, 14%) than after orthotopic liver transplantation (2/384, 0.5%) (p<0.001). Of the patients, 65% (17/26) surviving auxiliary liver transplantation for 1 year without retransplantation by orthotopic liver transplantation were free of immunosuppression within 1 year, compared with none of the patients transplanted by orthotopic liver transplantation (p<0.01).

Conclusions:

Auxiliary liver transplantation, especially auxiliary partial orthotopic liver transplantation, offers an advantage over orthotopic liver transplantation in acute liver failure in terms of a chance of a life free of immunosuppression, apparently without jeopardizing chances of survival. Reduction of the incidence of primary nonfunction and vascular complications should be a focus of research in auxiliary liver transplantation. These findings need to be confirmed in a prospective study.

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