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Free Content Living-donor liver transplantation in patients with concurrent active tuberculosis at transplantation

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SETTING: Although active tuberculosis (TB) is a contraindication for liver transplantation (LT), LT may be the only possible treatment option in patients with irreversible liver failure and concurrent TB.

OBJECTIVES: To assess the outcome of LT in patients with concurrent TB and liver failure.

METHODS: We retrospectively evaluated the clinical outcomes of nine LT recipients with concurrent TB in Korea, an intermediate TB burden country.

RESULTS: The primary causes of living-donor LT (LDLT) in nine patients were anti-tuberculosis drug-induced fulminant hepatic failure (n = 4) and end-stage liver disease (n = 5). The sites of active TB were the lungs (n = 5), lymph nodes (n = 3) and pleura (n = 1). After LDLT, most patients were treated with less hepatotoxic drugs, including fluoroquinolones, ethambutol and cycloserine; none was treated with pyrazinamide. One patient experienced acute rejection, probably attributable to an interaction between rifampicin and cyclosporine. All nine patients, including one taking rifabutin, successfully completed anti-tuberculosis treatment and have been followed up for a median of 926 days after LDLT, without relapse of TB.

CONCLUSION: When properly managed, the prognosis of LDLT recipients with concurrently active TB at transplantation is very favourable. The current protocol, which considers active TB an absolute contraindication for LT, should be modified or relaxed, particularly for patients with LDLT.

Keywords: liver transplantation; living donors; tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea 2: Division of Hepatobiliary Surgery and Liver Transplantation, Department of Surgery, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea

Publication date: 2010-08-01

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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