Prevalence and clinical associations of posttransplant fatty liver disease

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Abstract

Background and Aims

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) could recur after liver transplant in patients with preexisting NAFLD, and has recently been reported to occur after transplant in patients transplanted without preexisting NAFLD. The literature on posttransplant NAFLD is limited. We aimed to study the prevalence of posttransplant NAFLD in patients transplanted for non-NAFLD-related liver diseases.

Methods

Thirty liver transplant recipients: 18 with chronic hepatitis B (CHB), seven with chronic hepatitis C (CHC), five others, were recruited. Liver biopsies were performed in all CHB and CHC patients annually as per protocol, or when clinically indicated. All biopsies were reviewed by one hepato-histopathologist blindly to assess and stage for steatosis and steatohepatitis.

Results

After a mean follow-up of 44±4 months, 12 (40%) and four (13%) developed posttransplant steatosis and steatohepatitis, respectively. None developed steatosis-related fibrosis or cirrhosis. Posttransplant steatohepatitis was associated with higher pretransplant body mass index (BMI) (32.3±3.9 vs 23.1±0.8, P=0.02) and higher BMI at last biopsy (32.5±4.3 vs 22.9±0.7, P=0.01).

Conclusion

Posttransplant steatosis is common after liver transplant even in patients transplanted for non-NAFLD-related liver diseases. However, it is mostly benign during our follow-up, with only 13% developing steatohepatitis and none with fibrosis or cirrhosis.

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