, Volume 37, Issue 13 Supplement, pp 88-91

Auxiliary partial orthotopic liver transplantation (APOLT) in the treatment of acute liver failure

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Background. Auxiliary partial orthotopic liver transplantation (APOLT) has been developed in order to benefit from the efficacy of orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) in the treatment of fulminant hepatic failure (FHF), but to avoid the negative counterpart of OLT which is to eliminate the possibility of native liver (NL) regeneration and which consequently implies a life-long immunosuppression.Methods. In our institution we performed 16 consecutive APOLTs in 15 patients between October 1992 and December 1999. Patients’ mean age was 30 years (range 0.5–65 years). The causes of FHF were viral (HAV = 3; HBV = 3), drugs (n = 4), or others (n = 5). None of the patients had a history of chronic liver disease. The decision to transplant was taken when the patients met well-defined criteria. All but one of the patients were in a coma.Results. Five patients died, 10 patients are alive (66.7%). Regeneration of the NL occurred in 11 of the 15 patients (73.3%) and in 8 of the 10 survivors. Six of these 8 patients have permanently stopped immunosuppressive therapy. These results can be favorably compared with those of OLT for FHF. In the European Transplant Registry, the survival rate is 57% at 5 years (2612 patients receiving OLT for FHF between 1988 and 1998). In our experience the survival rate is 59% at 5 years (42 patients receiving OLT for FHF between 1987 and 1999).Conclusions. APOLT is feasible in both adults and children; it rapidly restored liver function and reversed encephalopathy. Right APOLT seems more advisable since the right liver provides more functional hepatocytes; however, left APOLT harvested in an adult appears sufficient for a child. APOLT should be proposed only to patients with high chances of liver regeneration: age of recipient, etiology of liver failure, interval between onset of jaundice and occurrence of encephalopathy, and quality of liver graft are early prognostic indicators. Better results have been observed with younger patients (less than 40 years old) presenting with FHF (rather than subfulminant hepatic failure (SHF)) and due to HAV, HBV, or paracetamol.