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Waiting List Mortality and Transplant Rates for NASH Cirrhosis When Compared With Cryptogenic, Alcoholic, or AIH Cirrhosis

Thuluvath, Paul J., MD, FRCP1,2; Hanish, Steven, MD1,2; Savva, Yulia, PhD1,2

doi: 10.1097/TP.0000000000002355
Original Clinical Science—Liver

Background Patients with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) cirrhosis have excellent postliver transplant survival despite having many comorbidities. We hypothesized that this could be due to a selection bias.

Methods We analyzed the United Network for Organ Sharing data from 2002 to 2016 and compared postliver transplant survival of NASH (n = 7935) patients with cryptogenic cirrhosis (CC) (n = 6087), alcoholic cirrhosis (AC) (n = 16 810), and autoimmune hepatitis cirrhosis (AIH) (n = 2734).

Results By 3 years of listing, the cumulative incidence (CI) of death or deterioration was 29% for NASH, 28% for CC and AC, and 24% for AIH, but when adjusted for risk factors, the CI was similar for NASH and AIH. The factors that increased the risk of waiting list removal due to death/deterioration were poor performance status, encephalopathy, diabetes, high Model for End-stage Liver Disease, Hispanic race, older age and a low serum albumin. Most patients were transplanted within the first year (median, 2 months; interquartile range, 1-7 months) of listing and by 5 years, the unadjusted CI of transplantation was 54% for NASH, 52% for CC, 51% for AIH, and 48% for AC. The adjusted CI of transplantation within 2 months of listing was higher for AC (subhazard ratio [SHR], 1.17), AIH (SHR, 1.17), and CC (SHR, 1.13) when compared with NASH, but after 2 months, adjusted transplantation rates decreased in AC (SHR, 0.6), AIH (SHR, 0.78), and CC (SHR, 0.95). The negative predictors of receiving a transplant were dialysis, female sex, nonwhite race, high albumin, and creatinine.

Conclusions Patients with NASH cirrhosis are not disadvantaged by higher waitlist removal or lower transplantation rates.

1 Institute of Digestive Health and Liver Diseases, Mercy Medical Center, Baltimore, MD.

2 Departments of Surgery and Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD.

Received 9 March 2018. Revision received 13 June 2018.

Accepted 27 June 2018.

The authors declare no funding or conflicts of interest.

P.J.T. and S.H. contributed to the idea. Y.S. did the statistical analysis. P.J.T. wrote the article. S.H. and Y.S. reviewed the final article.

Correspondence: Paul J. Thuluvath, MD, FAASLD, FRCP, Institute of Digestive Health & Liver Diseases, Mercy Medical Center, Baltimore, MD 21202. (

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