Martini S, Tandoi F, Terzi di Bergamo L, Strona S, Lavezzo B, Sacco M, Maione F, Gonella F, Strignano P, Dell Olio D, Salizzoni M, Saracco G, Romagnoli R
Although early allograft dysfunction (EAD) negatively impacts survival from the first months following liver transplantation (LT), direct-acting antiviral agents (DAAs) have revolutionized hepatitis C virus (HCV) therapy. We investigated the EAD definition best predicting 90-day graft loss and identified EAD risk factors in HCV-positive recipients. From November 2002 to June 2016, 603 HCV-positive patients (hepatocellular carcinoma, 53.4%) underwent a first LT with HCV-negative donors. The median recipient Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) score was 15, and the median donor age was 63 years. At LT, 77 (12.8%) patients were HCV RNA negative; negativization was achieved and maintained by pre-LT antiviral therapy (61 patients) or pre-LT plus a pre-emptive post-LT course (16 patients); 60 (77.9%) patients received DAAs and 17 (22.1%) interferon. We compared 3 different EAD definitions: (1) bilirubin ≥ 10 mg/dL or international normalized ratio ≥ 1.6 on day 7 after LT or aspartate aminotransferase or alanine aminotransferase > 2000 IU/L within 7 days of LT; (2) bilirubin > 10 mg/dL on days 2-7 after LT; and (3) MELD ≥ 19 on day 5 after LT. EAD defined by MELD ≥ 19 on day 5 after LT had the lowest negative (0.1) and the highest positive (1.9) likelihood ratio to predict 90-day graft loss. At 90 days after LT, 9.2% of recipients with EAD lost their graft as opposed to 0.7% of those without EAD (P < 0.001). At multivariate analysis, considering variables available at LT, MELD at LT of>25 (OR = 7.4) or 15-25 (OR = 3.2), graft macrovesicular steatosis ≥ 30% (OR = 6.7), HCV RNA positive at LT (OR = 2.7), donor age > 70 years (OR = 2.0), earlier LT era (OR = 1.8), and cold ischemia time ≥ 8 hours (OR = 1.8) were significant risk factors for EAD. In conclusion, in HCV-positive patients, MELD ≥ 19 on day 5 after LT best predicts 90-day graft loss. Preventing graft infection by pre-/peri-LT antiviral therapy reduces EAD incidence and could be most beneficial in high-MELD patients and recipients of suboptimal grafts. Liver Transplantation 23 915-924 2017 AASLD.