The current opinion is that liver transplantation for chronic cholestatic liver disease should be done before the terminal, high-risk stage. However, most studies do not take waiting list mortality into account. We analysed 113 consecutive patients with chronic cholestatic liver disease, stratified according to estimated survival. Overall and post-transplantation survival was calculated using the Kaplan-Meier method. Including patients who died awaiting transplantation lowered the 1-year survival by 19% in the high-risk category. In this group survival at 4 years was 45%, with an estimated survival benefit of 45%. For the intermediate- and low-risk groups these numbers were 56% and 36% vs. 81% and 7%. Including the waiting list period in the analysis of the benefits of liver transplantation strengthens the case for early transplantation. Our study confirms that liver transplantation should be considered before the high-risk stage of chronic cholestatic liver disease is reached.

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Transplant International
Department of Gastroenterology & Hepatology

de Rave, S, & Schalm, S.W. (2005). The optimal timing of liver transplantation in patients with chronic cholestatic liver disease. Transplant International, 18(8), 937–940. doi:10.1111/j.1432-2277.2005.00161.x