To determine the effect of pretransplant liver function on survival following orthotopic liver transplantation and to quantify the effects of cyclosporine administration on long-term renal function in patients undergoing liver transplant, we performed an analysis of a prospectively maintained database. Data from 569 consecutive patients undergoing liver transplantation alone who were treated with CsA for immunosuppression were used for this study. Actuarial graft and patient survival rates were calculated using Kaplan-Mcier statistics. Glomerular filtration rates, serum creatinine, and the use of various immunosuppressives were analyzed for this study. The initial analysis demonstrated that patients presenting for liver transplant with hepatorenal syndrome have a significantly decreased actuarial patient survival after liver transplant at 5 years compared with patients without hepatorenal syndrome (60% vs. 68%, P<0.03). Patients with hepatorenal syndrome recovered their renal function after liver transplant. Patients who had hepatorenal syndrome were sicker and required longer stays in the intensive care unit, longer hospitalizations, and more dialysis treatments after transplantation compared with patients who did not have hepatorenal syndrome. The incidence of end-stage renal disease after liver transplantation in patients who had hepatorenal syndrome was 7%, compared with 2% in patients who did not have hepatorenal syndrome. To more fully examine the effect of pretransplant renal function on posttransplant survival, the non-hepatorenal syndrome patients were divided into quartiles depending upon their pretransplant renal function. The patients with the lowest pretransplant renal function had the same survival as the patients with the highest pretransplant renal function. In addition, there was no increased incidence of acute or chronic rejection in any of the groups. The patients with the lower pretransplant renal function were treated with more azathioprine to maintain renal function and had a negligible decrease in glomerular filtration rate following transplant. Conversely, patients with the highest level of renal function pretransplant had a 40% decline in renal function in the first year, but maintained stable renal function up to 4 years after transplant. We conclude that pretransplant renal function other than hepatorenal syndrome has no effect on patient survival after orthotopic liver transplant. Renal function after liver transplant is stable after an initial decline, despite continued administration of CsA. Use of a CsA-sparing protocol utilizing high doses of azathioprine and lower doses of CsA can maintain renal function in those patients who present with poor renal function before transplantation.
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