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Liver transplantation for patients with genetic liver conditions has high survival rate
Date:4/5/2013

of the underlying genetic disease. The pediatric patient died 12 years after the transplant. The adult had another liver transplant and was still alive 22 years later. "For certain genetic conditions, replacing the liver is not enough," Dr. Petrowsky explained, because "other tissues and organs are expressing the mutated protein. So the discussion now is should we do a combined liver and bone marrow transplantation in these rare cases to improve the outcome?"

Only 13 percent of adult patients and 22 percent of pediatric patients required another transplant. For pediatric patients, the primary reasons for the additional procedure were blood clots in the hepatic artery or the body rejected the new organ. The majority of adults who needed another transplant had primary non-function, meaning the transplanted organ simply didn't work.

Despite the complications, Dr. Petrowsky said the high survival rates also imply that liver transplantation is currently the best available treatment for patients with genetic liver disease. "Liver transplantation for lethal genetic syndromes represents a model of personalized genomic medicine by providing gene therapy through solid organ transplantation," the authors wrote. Additionally, genetic testing could be used to not only confirm the cause of liver disease, but also predict it in people who have certain genetic markers. The results of that finding could be used to guide treatment decisions.

The high survival rates also make up for the risks and the costs of liver transplantation, which could be as high as $577,000 according to the United Network of Organ Sharing.* "Transplantation saves lives," Petrowsky said. "Many of the patients go on to live a good life. We have pediatric patients who were transplanted as infants. If they had not received a transplant, they would not have survived. Many of them are alive more than 20 years after transplant, are married, and some of them have even kids
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Contact: Sally Garneski
pressinquiry@facs.org
312-202-5409
American College of Surgeons
Source:Eurekalert

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