Combined heart and liver transplantation for familial amyloidotic neuropathy: Considerations from the hepatic point of view

Gian Luca Grazi, Matteo Cescon, Fabrizio Salvi, Giorgio Ercolani, Matteo Ravaioli, Giorgio Arpesella, Carlo Magelli, Francesco Grigioni, Antonino Cavallari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Few cases of combined heart and liver transplantation (CHLT) for familial amyloidotic polyneuropathy have been reported, and the technique for the operation is far from being consolidated. Three patients with amyloidogenic transthyretin (ATTR)-related (variant Glu89Gln to ATTR Glu89Gln) cardiomyopathy underwent CHLT at our institution. Patient 1 had no serious involvement of other organs, whereas patients 2 and 3 had evident peripheral neuropathy and gastrointestinal motility alterations. Patient 3 also had high-grade orthostatic hypotension. All three patients underwent cardiac and sequential hepatic transplantation using the piggyback technique with organs procured from the same donor. Venovenous bypass (VVB) was used only in patient 1, with an uncomplicated procedure. After CHLT, his cardiac performance remained normal, and no progression of amyloidosis was observed. Patient 2 had no intraoperative complications, but experienced postoperative bleeding, renal failure, sepsis, and heart failure and eventually died of multiorgan failure 2 months after transplantation. In patient 3, right hemicolectomy was required intraoperatively because of intestinal ischemia without significant hemodynamic perturbations, whereas extracardiac symptoms of amyloidosis gradually worsened postoperatively. Two patients (no. 1 and 3) currently are alive after 38 and 18 months, respectively. CHLT for ATTR Glu89Gln can be performed successfully, even in patients with advanced disease. However, the most compromised patients are more exposed to intraoperative risks, postoperative complications, and worsening of extracardiac and extrahepatic symptoms. The need for VVB remains to be evaluated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)986-992
Number of pages7
JournalLiver Transplantation
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Transplantation

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