Liver transplantation in the first three months of life

E. Steve Woodle*, J. Michael Millis, Samuel K S So, Sue V. McDiarmid, Ronald W. Busuttil, Carlos O. Esquivel, Peter F. Whitington, J. Richard Thistlethwaite

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Background. Pediatric liver transplant recipients have traditionally been grouped according to age. Age-based classification schemes are useful in identifying clinical problems in selected age groups and also for developing solutions to these problems. Although infants in the first 3 months of life have not traditionally ally been considered a distinct age group, several features of these infants may distinguish them from other pediatric liver transplant recipients. Methods. The experience with liver transplantation in infants during the first 3 months of life in three large pediatric liver transplant programs (University of Chicago, Stanford University, and UCLA) was analyzed in order to characterize this group. Results. A total of 23 liver transplants were performed at these three centers in children younger than 3 months of age. This group of patients comprised approximately 37% of the U.S. experience between 1988 and 1994 according to United Network for Organ Sharing statistics. Age distribution at the time of transplantation included the following: <1 month, 28%; 1-2 months, 35%; and 2-3 months, 36%. Median age at the time of transplantation was 37 days (range, 7-90 days), and mean age was 57±30 days. Mean weight at the time of transplantation was 3.8±1.0 kg. Etiology of liver disease included idiopathic hepatitis, 52%; iron storage disease, 17%; and other causes, 31%. Types of liver allografts used included cadaveric, 85% (reduced size, 60%, and full-size, 25%); living donor, 15%; ABO-identical, 65%; and ABO-compatible, 35%. Actuarial patient and graft survival rates were 60% and 60% at 1 year and 60% and 42% at 2 years, respectively. Median follow-up was 1.5 years. Rejection occurred in 42% of patients, with a median time to first rejection of 13 days. Of these patients, 28% required steroids only and 14% required OKT3. Three patients (14%) were retransplanted at a median time to retransplantation of 1.6 years. Vascular thrombosis occurred in three patients (14%). Conclusions. Liver transplantation performed in infants younger than 3 months of age (1) provides acceptable short- and long-term patient and graft survival, (2) is associated with significant rates of rejection, and (3) is not associated with excessive rates of vascular thrombosis. The etiology of end-stage liver disease occurring in the first 3 months of life is distinct from that in other pediatric liver transplant recipient age groups. These infants should be referred promptly for liver transplantation as reasonable survival can be expected.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)606-609
Number of pages4
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 15 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation


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