Pre–liver transplantation (LT) renal dysfunction is associated with poor post-LT survival. We studied whether early allograft dysfunction (EAD) modifies this association. Data on 2,856 primary LT recipients who received a transplant between 1998 and 2018 were retrospectively reviewed. Patients who died within the first post-LT week or received multiorgan transplants and previous LT recipients were excluded. EAD was defined as (1) total bilirubin ≥ 10 mg/dL on postoperative day (POD) 7, (2) international normalized ratio ≥1.6 on POD 7, and/or (3) alanine aminotransferase or aspartate aminotransferase ≥2000 IU/mL in the first postoperative week. Pre-LT renal dysfunction was defined as serum creatinine >1.5 mg/dL or on renal replacement therapy at LT. Patients were divided into 4 groups according to pre-LT renal dysfunction and post-LT EAD development. Recipients who had both pre-LT renal dysfunction and post-LT EAD had the worst unadjusted 1-year, 3-year, and 5-year post-LT patient and graft survival, whereas patients who had neither renal dysfunction nor EAD had the best survival (P < 0.001). After adjusting for multiple factors, the risk of death was significantly higher only in those with both pre-LT renal dysfunction and post-LT EAD (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 2.19; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.58-3.03; P < 0.001), whereas those with renal dysfunction and no EAD had a comparable risk of death to those with normal kidney function at LT (aHR, 1.12; 95% CI, 0.86-1.45; P = 0.41). Results remained unchanged when pre-LT renal dysfunction was redefined using different glomerular filtration rate cutoffs. Pre-LT renal dysfunction negatively impacts post-LT survival only in patients who develop EAD. Livers at higher risk of post-LT EAD should be used with caution in recipients with pre-LT renal dysfunction.
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