Published online May 28, 2015. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v21.i20.6296
Peer-review started: November 30, 2014
First decision: January 8, 2015
Revised: February 7, 2015
Accepted: March 30, 2015
Article in press: March 31, 2015
Published online: May 28, 2015
AIM: To evaluate the outcomes of patients with end-stage biliary disease (ESBD) who underwent liver transplantation, to define the concept of ESBD, the criteria for patient selection and the optimal operation for decision-making.
METHODS: Between June 2002 and June 2014, 43 patients with ESBD from two Chinese organ transplantation centres were evaluated for liver transplantation. The causes of liver disease were primary biliary cirrhosis (n = 8), cholelithiasis (n = 8), congenital biliary atresia (n = 2), graft-related cholangiopathy (n = 18), Caroli’s disease (n = 2), iatrogenic bile duct injury (n = 2), primary sclerosing cholangitis (n = 1), intrahepatic bile duct paucity (n = 1) and Alagille’s syndrome (n = 1). The patients with ESBD were compared with an end-stage liver disease (ESLD) case control group during the same period, and the potential prognostic values of multiple demographic and clinical variables were assessed. The examined variables included recipient age, sex, pre-transplant clinical status, pre-transplant laboratory values, operation condition and postoperative complications, as well as patient and allograft survival rates. Survival analysis was performed using Kaplan-Meier curves, and the rates were compared using log-rank tests. All variables identified by univariate analysis with P values < 0.100 were subjected to multivariate analysis. A Cox proportional hazard regression model was used to determine the effect of the study variables on outcomes in the study group.
RESULTS: Patients in the ESBD group had lower model for end-stage liver disease (MELD)/paediatric end-stage liver disease (PELD) scores and a higher frequency of previous abdominal surgery compared to patients in the ESLD group (19.2 ± 6.6 vs 22.0 ± 6.5, P = 0.023 and 1.8 ± 1.3 vs 0.1 ± 0.2, P = 0.000). Moreover, the operation time and the time spent in intensive care were significantly higher in the ESBD group than in the ESLD group (527.4 ± 98.8 vs 443.0 ± 101.0, P = 0.000, and 12.74 ± 6.6 vs 10.0 ± 7.5, P = 0.000). The patient survival rate in the ESBD group was not significantly different from that of the ESBD group at 1, 3 and 5 years (ESBD: 90.7%, 88.4%, 79.4% vs ESLD: 84.9%, 80.92%, 79.0%, χ2 = 0.194, P = 0.660). The graft-survival rates were also similar between the two groups at 1, 3 and 5 years (ESBD: 90.7%, 85.2%, 72.7% vs ESLD: 84.9%, 81.0%, 77.5%, χ2 = 0.003, P = 0.958). Univariate analysis identified MELD/PELD score (HR = 1.213, 95%CI: 1.081-1.362, P = 0.001) and bleeding volume (HR = 0.103, 95%CI: 0.020-0.538, P = 0.007) as significant factors affecting the outcomes of patients in the ESBD group. However, multivariate analysis revealed that MELD/PELD score (HR = 1.132, 95%CI: 1.005-1.275, P = 0.041) was the only negative factor that was associated with short survival time.
CONCLUSION: MELD/PELD criteria do not adequately measure the clinical characteristics and staging of ESBD. The allocation system based on MELD/PELD criteria should be re-evaluated for patients with ESBD.
Core tip: In this work, we evaluated the clinical characteristics of end-stage biliary disease (ESBD) and demonstrated that ESBD comprises a subset of disease that significantly differs from end-stage liver disease (ESLD), which is caused by hepatitis and cirrhosis. However, previous research on ESBD has been classified within the category of ESLD. The model for end-stage liver disease (MELD) does not adequately measure the clinical characteristics and stages of patients with ESBD before liver transplantation. Patients with ESBD would be less likely to receive priority for liver transplantation, and thus, the allocation system based on the MELD score is inappropriate and should be re-evaluated for patients with ESBD. In addition, the concept of ESBD and the indications for liver transplantation are established in this paper.