Linear growth after pediatric liver transplantation

S. M. Bartosh*, S. E. Thomas, M. M. Sutton, L. M. Brady, P. F. Whitington

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


To determine growth patterns in a large cohort of unselected children undergoing liver transplantation, the outcomes of 294 orthotopic liver transplantations performed in 221 children at the University of Chicago between October 1984 and October 1992 were retrospectively reviewed; 66% were alive at the time of this analysis. The mean age at transplantation was 4.1 ± 5.0 years; 44% of the children were male and 16% of the transplants were from living-related donors. The mean height z score at the time of transplantation was -1.6 ± 1.8, and 39% of children had height z scores of < -2.0 at transplantation. When children with growth retardation at the time of transplantation (height z scores of < -2.0) were compared with children with more normal growth, there were no significant differences in gender or re- transplantation rates, although children with growth retardation at transplantation were significantly younger than those with more appropriate growth (2.8 ± 4.1 years vs 4.7 ± 5.1 years, P < .05). The height z score of all children with biliary atresia at the time of transplantation was -1.9 ± 1.7 compared with -1.2 ± 2.0 in those children with underlying diseases other than biliary atresia. Catch-up growth was seen in 37% to 47% of children at any given time point after transplantation. Children with evidence of catch-up growth (growth velocity z score >0) 2 years after transplantation were more likely to be first-time transplant recipients, had more growth retardation at the time of transplantation, and were receiving lower doses of prednisone at 2 years after transplantation. Younger children were most likely to demonstrate catch-up growth after transplantation. In summary, a large proportion of children have growth retardation at the time of liver transplantation. This growth retardation is inversely correlated with age. Before transplantation, children with biliary atresia grow less well than children with other forms of liver disease. Up to one half of children demonstrate catch-up growth after liver transplantation. Growth after transplantation is proportional to the degree of growth retardation at transplantation and inversely correlated to age at transplantation. Children with poor growth after transplantation are more likely to be receiving higher doses of corticosteroid.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)624-631
Number of pages8
Journaljournal of pediatrics
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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