We retrospectively reviewed the long-term results in 46 patients who survived at least 1 year after liver transplantation. Only one death has occurred, and one patient has required retransplantation. Biochemical liver function tests showed median values in the normal range, except for mild elevation of serum γ-glutamyltransferase. In patients with primary biliary cirrhosis, these test results were completely normal. A liver biopsy 1 year after transplantation disclosed normal histologic findings in 31 patients (67%). The other patients had either transient (acute rejection) or stable (chronic rejection) abnormalities, except for two patients with progressive graft dysfunction attributable to chronic rejection. A clinically significant vascular anastomotic abnormality was noted in one patient who had hepatic artery thrombosis. Late bile duct complications occurred in 15% of patients, all of whom had a satisfactory outcome after surgical or radiologic intervention. Cyclosporine-related nephrotoxicity and hypertension each occurred in 67% of patients; however, conversion to a low-dose cyclosporine-azathioprine regimen yielded stabilization of renal function after the first postoperative year, and hypertension has been easily controlled medically. Diabetes necessitating insulin treatment developed in three patients. The body weight of the study patients had increased by a median of 6.5 kg at 1 year but stabilized thereafter. Subjective well-being and satisfaction with life were reported by 91% of the patients. Of the 46 patients, 26 were employed, 16 were homemakers, and only 4 did not work, 2 because of transplant-related medical problems. Thus, we conclude that liver transplantation rehabilitates patients with end-stage liver disease and enhances their quality of life.
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