A recent study (MG Bowring et al. JPGN 2020; 70: 356-63) provides data on pediatric liver transplantation (LT) survival rates and projected survival rates.
This retrospective cohort study included 13,442 first-time pediatric (<18) LT recipients from 1987-2018.
- Projected 20-year survival rate for pediatric LT from 2007-18: 84.0%
- Prior 20-year survival rates: 72.8% (1997-2006 cohort) and 63.6% (1987-1996 cohort)
- Projected 30-year survival rates for pediatric LT from 2007-18: 80.1%
- Prior 30-year survival rates: 68.6% (1997-2006 cohort) and 57.5% (1987-1996 cohort)
- Projected outcomes with split LT (28% of 2007-2018 cohort) are similar to outcomes with whole LT
My take: While projections can overestimate and underestimate survival rates, the clear trend has been a remarkable improvement in long-term outcomes. This published data can provide current expectations when counseling families, though with ongoing improvements in management/development of tolerance, the hope is for even better outcomes.
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A recent article and editorial (DH Leung et al. Liver Transpl 2016; 22: 1584-92 & editorial by JC Bucuvalas, S Feng 1466-68) provides a better picture of long-term survival for pediatric patients facing the prospect of liver transplantation.
Among patients less than 2 years in the UNOS data sharing registry, there were 994 with biliary atresia (BA) and 221 with other chronic liver disease.
The key data:
- The overall postlisting mortality was 19.6% with most of this due to wait-list mortality (12.4%). Posttransplant mortality was 8%.
- The non-BA patients had a higher wait-list mortality compared with BA patients: 23.9% vs 9.8%
- Risk factors for mortality included lack of exception points (HR 5.8), and initial creatinine >0.5. In addition, BA patients without prior abdominal surgery (eg Kasai) was higher (risk was 1.6 times greater) than in those with BA with presumed Kasai.
Reviewing the article, it is not clear to me if patients removed the waitlist (eg due to sepsis and other causes) are included in this analysis. Thus, the true postlisting mortality may be higher than 20% if all needy individuals are considered.
From the editorial -other aspects:
- Only one-third of pediatric recipients have optimal outcomes which would include normal LFTs, maintained on monotherapy immunosuppression, normal growth, and free of comorbidity. In addition, even among those with ‘optimal’ outcomes, many would still have histologic injury.
- The “incidence of nonstandard exception requests has increased 5-fold and is now used on behalf of 44% of wait-listed children.” Importantly, children with public insurance were less likely to have petitions for exception PELD points.
My take (with help from editorial): To improve outcomes, this means starting with candidate selection and working on each step: traversing wait-list management and optimizing posttransplant care.
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