Obesity, hyperlipidemia, and metabolic syndrome

Michael Charlton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Key Points 1. Obesity is increasingly common among liver transplantation (LT) recipients and donors. Outcomes following LT for selected patients with class I-III obesity are similar to those for nonobese recipients. In patients who are otherwise satisfactory candidates for LT, a high body mass index, as long as it does not present a technical barrier, should not be considered to be an absolute contraindication to LT. 2. The most common causes of death beyond the first year of LT are, in descending order of frequency, graft failure (especially secondary to hepatitis C virus recurrence), malignancy, cardiovascular disease, infections, and renal failure. Metabolic syndrome is an important risk factor for each of these etiologies of posttransplant death. Posttransplant diabetes, posttransplant hypertension, and an original diagnosis of cryptogenic cirrhosis, which is commonly associated with metabolic syndrome, are all associated with an increased risk of post-LT mortality. Features of metabolic syndrome should be screened for and treated in LT recipients. 3. Because of the physiological mechanism of post-LT hypertension, which includes renal arteriolar constriction secondary to calcineurin inhibition, calcium channel blocking agents are a good pharmacological treatment modality and have been shown to be effective in renal protection in randomized controlled trials of posttransplant hypertension. 4. It is rare for dietary changes and weight reduction to result in normalization of the lipid profile. Statins should thus be initiated early in the course of management of post-LT dyslipidemia. Forty milligrams of simvastatin per day, 40 mg of atorvastatin per day, and 20 mg of pravastatin per day are reasonable starting doses for post-LT hypercholesterolemia. It is important to remember that the effects of statin therapy are additive to those of a controlled diet (eg, a Mediterranean diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fruits, vegetables, and dietary fiber). 5. Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, an increasingly common etiology of cirrhosis and liver failure, recurs commonly after LT and may also arise de novo. Treatment should be directed at managing obesity and complications of metabolic syndrome. Optimal immunosuppression in patients with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis is still evolving but should include steroid minimization. Liver Transpl 15:S83-S89, 2009. copy; 2009 AASLD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S83-S89
JournalLiver Transplantation
Issue numberSUPPL. 2
StatePublished - Nov 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Hepatology
  • Transplantation


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