Study concludes no racial disparities in long-term outcomes in recipients of liver transplants

May 19, 2008

New research published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons shows long-term survival and liver rejection rates are equivalent for African-American liver transplant patients as compared with patients of other races. The study also suggests that although other factors such as liver cancer or hepatitis may negatively influence long-term survival, race does not.

Racial disparities in incidence, severity, methods of treatment and access to care have previously been shown in a variety of diseases, including liver disease. African-American patients appear to be underrepresented among liver transplantation recipients. In 2005, for instance, only 6.8 percent of all patients in the United Network for Organ Sharing database and 9.4 percent of liver transplant recipients were African American, compared with the general population of the United States, in which African Americans represented 12.9 percent of the total.

“Survival rates after liver transplantation have been shown to be influenced by race, but earlier data on this subject has been conflicting and may not reflect current management of liver transplant recipients,” says Dr. Johnny C. Hong, assistant professor of surgery, Department of Surgery and Liver and Pancreas Transplantation at the University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. “Although our study is the first to find equivalent long-term outcomes among racial groups after liver transplantation, access to care for all patients with end-stage liver disease clearly remains a major goal for all transplant centers. Like many diseases, our patients are best served with early involvement of a multidisciplinary team.”

Liver transplantation is required for patients with severe (end-stage) liver disease. People who have liver transplants require close monitoring after their operation and must take drugs that prevent rejection of the transplanted organ (immunosuppressants) for the rest of their lives.

Using information from the UCLA transplant database, researchers reviewed 2,728 patients who underwent primary liver transplantation at the Dumont-UCLA Transplant Center from 1984 to 2007. Among these patients, 57 percent were Caucasian, 28 percent were Hispanic, 11 percent were Asian and 4 percent were African American.

Results were analyzed during two time periods correlating to the primary immunosuppressant drug used during that era (cyclosporine from 1984-1993 and tacrolimus from 1994-2007). The use of the modern immunosuppressant drug tacrolimus substantially reduced the risk of acute rejection, graft loss and patient death compared with cyclosporine and resulted in a marked improvement of patient and graft survival outcomes in African-American patients after liver transplantation. Statistically significant independent predictors of diminished survival in liver transplant patients were older age ( > 55 years), cryptogenic cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), liver cancer and hepatitis C cirrhosis. Race was not found to be a predictor of survival.

Source: Weber Shandwick Worldwide

Explore further: ICU fatalities linked to after-hours discharge

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

Apr 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...

Recommended for you

Obese British man in court fight for surgery

Jul 11, 2011

A British man weighing 22 stone (139 kilograms, 306 pounds) launched a court appeal Monday against a decision to refuse him state-funded obesity surgery because he is not fat enough.

2008 crisis spurred rise in suicides in Europe

Jul 08, 2011

The financial crisis that began to hit Europe in mid-2008 reversed a steady, years-long fall in suicides among people of working age, according to a letter published on Friday by The Lancet.

New food labels dished up to keep Europe healthy

Jul 06, 2011

A groundbreaking deal on compulsory new food labels Wednesday is set to give Europeans clear information on the nutritional and energy content of products, as well as country of origin.

Overweight men have poorer sperm count

Jul 04, 2011

Overweight or obese men, like their female counterparts, have a lower chance of becoming a parent, according to a comparison of sperm quality presented at a European fertility meeting Monday.

User comments : 0