There is no unified consensus as to the preferred immunosuppression (IS) strategy following liver retransplantation (reLT).
This was a retrospective cohort study using the United Network for Organ Sharing database. Recipient, donor, and center characteristics associated with induction use and early maintenance IS regimen were described. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards analysis evaluated induction receipt as a predictor of post-reLT survival.
There were 3483 adult reLT recipients from 2002 to 2018 at 116 centers with 95.6% being performed at the same center as the initial liver transplant. Timing of reLT was associated with induction IS use and the discharge regimen (P < 0.001 for both) but not with regimens at 6- and 12-month post-reLT (P = 0.1 for both). Among late reLTs (>365 d), initial liver disease cause was a more important determinant of maintenance regimen than graft failure cause. Low-reLT volume centers used induction more often for late reLTs (41.1% versus 22.6% high volume; P = 0.002) yet were less likely to wean to calcineurin inhibitors alone in the first year (19.1% versus 38.7% high volume; P = 0.002). Accounting for recipient and donor factors, depleting induction marginally improved post-reLT mortality (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.77; 95% CI, 0.61-0.99; P = 0.08), whereas nondepleting induction had no significant effect.
Although several recipient attributes inform early IS decision-making, this does not occur in a uniform manner and center factors also play a role. Further studies are needed to assess the effect of early IS on post-reLT outcomes.