Liver transplants may not be indicated for cystic fibrosis patients with bleeding complication

A new study on patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) who have had abnormal bleeding from ruptured blood vessels in the esophagus (variceal hemorrhage) as a result of liver disease found that transplant may not be indicated if there are no other indications of advanced liver disease.

The results of this study appear in the December 2005 issue of Liver Transplantation, the official journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) and the International Liver Transplantation Society (ILTS). The journal is published on behalf of the societies by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and is available online via Wiley InterScience (http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/livertransplantation).

Cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that affects the respiratory and digestive systems, can sometimes affect the liver. The most common complications are due to blocked blood flow in the liver (portal hypertension) which can result in variceal hemorrhage. Variceal hemorrhages normally carry a high death rate and so CF patients with this condition have generally been considered to be poor candidates for liver transplants, although this group has previously not been well studied.

Led by David Westaby of the Department of Gastroenterology at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London, researchers studied a group of 18 CF patients from a pool of 1,154 at a referral center at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London from 1981 onward. The 18 patients had each suffered at least one episode of variceal bleeding. Almost all of them (17) had a liver appearance indicative of cirrhosis when an ultrasound was performed, although the majority either had no clinical indications of liver disease (other than the bleeding) or suffered only temporarily from ascites (an accumulation of fluid in the abdomen). These patients were treated with a variety of non-transplant measures, such as b

Contact: David Greenberg
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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