1 Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital.
2 Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Duke University.
3 Duke Clinical Research Institute.
4 Department of Surgery, Duke University.
5 Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, Duke University.
BACKGROUND: Patients with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) are waitlisted at older ages than individuals with other liver diseases, but the effect of age on liver transplantation (LT) outcomes in this population and whether it differs from other etiologies is not known. We aimed to evaluate the impact of age on LT outcomes in NASH.
METHODS: The United Network for Organ Sharing database was used to identify adults with NASH, hepatitis C virus infection (HCV), and alcohol-related liver disease (ALD) listed for LT during 2004-2017. Patients were split into age groups (18-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, ≥70), and their outcomes were compared.
RESULTS: From 2004-2017, 14 197 adults with NASH were waitlisted, and the proportion ≥65 increased from 15.8% to 28.9%. NASH patients ages 65-69 had an increased risk of waitlist and posttransplant mortality compared to younger groups, while the outcomes in ages 60-64 and 55-59 were similar. The outcomes of individuals with NASH were similar to patients of the same age group with ALD or HCV. Functional status and dialysis were predictors of posttransplant mortality in individuals ≥65 with NASH, and cardiovascular disease was the leading cause of death.
CONCLUSIONS: Older NASH patients (≥65) have an increased risk of waitlist and post-transplant mortality compared to younger individuals, although outcomes were similar to patients with ALD or HCV of corresponding age. These individuals should be carefully evaluated prior to LT, considering their functional status, renal function, and cardiovascular risk. Further studies are needed to optimize outcomes in this growing population of transplant candidates.