Issue: 2007 > November > review

Liver transplantation: an update

R.C. Verdonk, A.P. van den Berg, M.J.H. Slooff, R.J. Porte, E.B. Haagsma


Liver transplantation has been an accepted treatment
for end-stage liver disease since the 1980s. Currently it
is a highly successful treatment for this indication. The
aim of this review is to give a general update on recent
developments in the field of liver transplantation. In the last decades considerable progress has been made in the care of liver transplant candidates and recipients. At present the one- and five-year patient survival rates are approximately 85 and 75%. The indications for liver transplantation are shifting and the number of absolute contraindications is decreasing. In the coming years, an increase in the number of transplant candidates can be expected. An important problem is the shortage of donor organs, for which many solutions are being explored. A recently introduced method for recipient selection is the MELD score using simple laboratory measurements. Perioperative care at the present time is characterised by a high degree of standardisation
and rapidly declining blood loss during transplantation.
Long-term care includes awareness and management
of recurrent disease. Important causes of morbidity and
mortality such as <i>de novo</i> malignancies and cardiovascular disease should be adequately screened for and managed. With the increasing success of liver transplantation, physicians should aim at reaching a normal life expectancy and quality of life for transplant recipients.