National assessment of early hospitalization after liver transplantation: Risk factors and association with patient survival

Pratima Sharma*, Nathan P. Goodrich, Douglas E. Schaubel, Abigail R. Smith, Robert M. Merion

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Hospitalization is known to occur frequently in the first 6 months following liver transplantation (LT). Using a novel data linkage between the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, our study has 2 objectives: (1) to determine risk factors for “early” hospitalization (ie, within 6 months of LT); and (2) to quantify the importance of hospitalization history in the first 6 months with respect to subsequent patient survival (ie, survival, conditional on surviving 6 months post-LT). The study population consisted of patients aged ≥18 years who underwent deceased donor LT between January 1, 2003 and December 31, 2010, with Medicare as primary or secondary insurance and were discharged alive from the index LT hospitalization (n = 7220). The early hospitalization rate was 2.76 per patient-year and was significantly associated with many recipient factors (eg, recipient age, hepatitis C, diabetes, poor renal function including dialysis, and recipient of transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt procedure before LT), as well as donor race and donation after cardiac death. Conditional on surviving 6 months after LT, the covariate-adjusted death rate increased by 22% for each additional hospitalization occurring in the first 6 months (hazard ratio, 1.22; P < 0.001). In conclusion, several LT recipient factors are significantly associated with early hospitalization. Moreover, a patient's hospitalization profile during follow-up months 0-6 is a very strong predictor of survival thereafter. Efforts and resources should be devoted toward identifying LT recipients at risk for early hospitalization and modifying the actionable risk factors such as hepatitis C, diabetes, and body mass index to improve resource utilization and overall outcomes. Liver Transplantation 23 1143–1152 2017 AASLD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1143-1152
Number of pages10
JournalLiver Transplantation
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Hepatology
  • Transplantation


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