Adult liver transplantation: UCL experience

J. Lerut, P. F. Laterre, F. Roggen, O. Ciccarelli, M. Donataccio, J. Martinez, J. De Ville De Goyet, R. Reding, M. A. Carlier, M. Dekock, P. Lavand'homme, L. Van Obbergh, F. Veyckemans, M. Janssen, E. Danse, P. Goffette, B. Van Beers, Ch Sempoux, P. Wallemacq, A. PeelersCl Guerrieri, J. Roeseler, D. Latinne, P. Goubau, Y. Horsmans, M. Van Hassel, J. Rahier, M. Reynaert, A. Geubel, P. J. Kestens, J. B. Otte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: to evaluate the impact of standardized operative and peri- operative care on the outcome of liver transplantation in a single center series of 395 adult patients. Method and material: between February 1984 and December 31, 1998, 451 orthotopic liver transplantations were performed in 395 adult patients (≥ 15 years) at the University Hospitals St-Luc in Brussels. Morbidity and mortality of the periods 1984-1990 (Gr I 174 pat.) and 1991-1998 were compared (Gr H- 221 pat.). During the second period anti- infectious chemotherapy and perioperative care were standardized and surgical technique changed from classical orthotopic liver transplantation with recipients' vena cava resection (and use of veno-venous bypass) towards liver implantation with preservation of the vena cava (without use of bypass). Immunosuppression was cyclosporine based from 1984 up to 1996 and tacrolimus based during the years 1997 and 1998. Immunosuppression was alleviated during the second period due to change from quadruple to triple and even double therapy and due to the introduction of low steroid dosing and of steroid withdrawal, once stable graft function was obtained. Indications for liver grafting were chronic liver disease (284 pat 71,9%), hepatobiliary tumor (52 pat-13,2%), acute liver failure (40 pat- 10,1%) and metabolic disease (19 pat- 4,8%). Regrafting was necessary because of graft dysfunction (21 pat), technical failure (12 pat), immunological failure (18 pat) and recurrent viral allograft disease (5 pat); three of these patients were regrafted at another institution. Follow-up was complete for all patients with a minimum of 9 months. Results: actuarial 1, 5 and 10 years survival rates for the whole group were 77,9%, 65,7% and 58,3%. These survival rates were respectively 77,3%, 69,7%, 62,5% and 73,2%, 59,6% 51,4% for benign chronic liver disease and acute liver failure; those for malignant liver disease were 80,6%, 44,3% and 36,7%. Early (<3 months) and late (> 3 months) posttransplant mortalities were 14,4% (57 pat) and 21.2% (84 pat). Early mortality lowered from 20% in Gr I to 9,4% in Gr II (p <0.02); this was due to a significant reduction during the second period of bacterial (99/174 pat. - 56.9% vs 82/221 pat. 37.1%), fungal (14 pat. - 8% vs 7 pat. - 3.2%) and viral (87 pat.50% vs 49 pat. - 22.2%) infections (p <0.05) as well as of perioperative bleeding (92 pat. - 52.9% vs 39 pat. - 17.6% - p<0.001). Late mortality remained almost identical throughout the two periods as lethal outcome was mainly caused by recurrent allograft diseases, cardiovascular and tumor problems. Morbidity in these series was important considering that almost, half of the patients had a technical complication, mostly related to bleeding (131 pat- 33,2%) and biliary problems (66 pat - 16.7%). Retransplantation index was 1.1 (54 pat. 14%). Early retransplantation mortality was 24%; it lowered, although not yet significantly, during the second period (8/25 pat.32% vs. 5/29 pat. - 17.2%). Conclusion: Despite a marked improvement of results, liver transplantation remains a major medical and surgical undertaking. Standardization of operative and perioperative care, less haemorraghic surgery and less aggressive immunosuppression are the keys for further improvement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-318
Number of pages13
JournalActa Gastro-Enterologica Belgica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1999


  • Acute liver disease
  • Chronic liver disease
  • Complications
  • Economy
  • Hepatobiliary malignancy
  • Immunosuppression
  • Liver transplantation
  • Retransplantation
  • Surgical technique

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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