Thirty-two patients with coronary artery disease who underwent liver transplantation between 1990 and 1994 were identified. Coronary artery disease was managed medically (n = 9), by angioplasty (n = 1), or surgically (n = 22) prior to liver transplantation. Two patients underwent simultaneous coronary artery bypass grafting and liver transplantation. Complete preoperative cardiac evaluation was performed in all patients. Perioperative and postoperative morbidity and mortality were retrospectively determined. Overall mortality was 50%, whereas morbidity was 81%. Follow-up was between 1 and 3 years after liver transplantation. Subgroup analysis revealed that medically managed patients had a 56% mortality and a 100% morbidity. The patient who underwent angioplasty survived without morbidity. One patient who underwent simultaneous coronary artery bypass grafting and liver transplantation died intraoperatively. The second patient survived but required pacemaker insertion and inotropic agents postoperatively. The 20 patients with prior coronary artery bypass grafting had a 50% mortality and 80% morbidity. Further, analysis by United Network for Organ Sharing functional status revealed a higher than expected mortality in all groups. The morbidity and mortality associated with liver transplantation is significantly increased in patients with coronary artery disease and is equally high in medically and surgically treated patients. By comparison, patients without coronary artery disease have a 3-year survival of 55.4% (status I) to 79.7% (status III and IV). The increased intraoperative and postoperative risk in patients with coronary artery disease undergoing liver transplantation should be considered when determining the candidacy of these patients, as well as when providing informed consent.
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