Cold agglutinins, IgM red blood cell autoantibodies, cause cold agglutinin disease with hemolysis and microvascular occlusion. Cold preservation of kidneys during renal transplantation in the presence of cold agglutinins can cause graft malfunction. However, the impact of cold agglutinins on the outcome of liver transplantation is unknown. We measured the pretransplant presence and titer of cold agglutinins in 327 primary liver allograft recipients and analyzed their relationship to outcome after transplant. Thirty-three percent of pretransplant patients had cold agglutinins. Cold agglutinins were more common in patients with viral- related liver diseases (49%) compared with those with nonviral-related liver disease (32%). There was no difference between recipients with and without cold agglutinins in usage of blood products, postoperative day 2 aminotransferase levels, acute rejection at day 7, the development of hepatic artery thrombosis, nonanastomotic biliary strictures, or 4-month allograft survival. In conclusion, cold agglutinins are common in liver transplant patients before surgery, especially those with viral-related liver diseases. However, the presence of cold agglutinins does not impact on outcome after liver transplantation.
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