Mayo Clinic pathology files from March 1985 to March 1995 contained records of 584 orthotopic liver transplantations in 515 patients. The most common indication for liver transplantation was primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), followed by primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), and cryptogenic cirrhosis. In 59 patients, a total of 69 single or repeated retransplantations became necessary. Vascular complications necessitated retransplantation in 35 cases, followed by irreversible rejection in 16 cases, and primary graft failure in 8 cases. Ninety-nine patients died, 25 of them after one or more retransplantations. Infectious complications caused death in 38 cases, followed by graft-related complications (excluding rejection) in 22 cases, noninfectious systemic diseases such as intracerebral hemorrhage (21 cases), malignancies in 13 cases, and irreversible rejection in 5 cases. In the decade from 1985 to 1995, only 14 patients had irreversible rejection that often was associated with other complications such as ischemic cholangitis. Furthermore, the rate of irreversible rejection decreased dramatically. Thus, although 5 deaths were caused by irreversible rejection, none occurred since March 1991, and of the 16 retransplantations for irreversible rejection, only one needed to be performed during these last 4 years. The disappearance of irreversible rejection, which can be described as the 'vanishing vanishing bile duct syndrome,' must be considered when new immunosuppressants are tested, because graft loss and death from rejection are no longer suitable criteria.
ASJC Scopus subject areas