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Liver Transplants for NASH Up 600 Percent in 10 Years

Obesity and diabetes epidemics spur increases, but post-transplantation survival excellent

TUESDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- The proportion of liver transplants performed in patients diagnosed with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) increased dramatically from 1997-2003 to 2004-2010, but post-transplant survival in this population is excellent, with one-year survival rates near 88 percent, according to a study published online Sept. 19 in Liver Transplantation.

Anita Afzali, M.D., M.P.H., from the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues analyzed data collected by the United Network for Organ Sharing on 53,738 adult, first-time, cadaveric liver transplant patients in the United States from January 1997 through October 2010.

The researchers found that the number of transplantations for NASH increased from 279 in 1997 to 2003 (1.2 percent of transplants) to 1,531 in 2004 to 2010 (7.4 percent of transplants). By 2010, NASH was the fourth most common indication for transplantation. Survival was excellent among patients with NASH, with 88 percent surviving at one year, 82 percent at three years, and 77 percent at five years following liver transplantation, which was comparable to patients with other liver diseases. Patients with NASH were older and more likely to be white, female, obese, and have diabetes compared to transplant recipients with other causes of liver disease.

"NASH-related cirrhosis is increasing rapidly as an indication for liver transplantation in the United States and is associated with excellent post-transplantation survival," the authors write.

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