Hussien Elsiesy, Abeer Ibrahim, Khaled Selim, Mohammed Al Sebayel, Dieter Broering, Waleed Al Hamoudi, Rania Al Arieh, Faisal Abaalkhail
Department of Liver Transplantation, King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Ann Transplant 2015; 20:397-401
Graft versus host disease (GVHD) is a rare complication following liver transplantation (LT) and has high mortality. We describe our single-center experience with 6 cases of GVHD diagnosed over a period of 14 years in a total of 604 liver transplant recipients – 283 deceased donor liver transplants (DDLT) and 321 living-related liver transplants (LDLT).
CASE REPORT: We report a case series of 6 patients with acute GVHD after liver transplantation from May 2001 to December 2014. Five cases were males; age 51–67 years (average 61). The time from transplantation until clinical presentation of GVHD ranged from 36 to 140 days, with average duration of 72 days. All cases had diarrhea and pancytopenia, 4 out of 5 presented with erythematous skin rashes, and 2 had cytomegalovirus colitis. GVHD was confirmed by skin biopsies, engraftment profile from bone marrow biopsy, and sigmoid colon biopsy. Treatment strategies included use of corticosteroids in 4 cases, stopping immunosuppression in 1 case, and no treatment in 1 case with mild disease.
Five patients died between 18 to 65 days from clinical presentation (average 43 days) and 1 patient with mild GVHD is doing well 290 days after clinical presentation.
CONCLUSIONS: GVHD is a rare complication after liver transplantation that needs a high index of suspicion in patients who develop rash, diarrhea, or sever pancytopenia. There is no consensus on the best treatment regimen and mortality remains high.
Keywords: Graft vs Host Disease, Immunosuppression, Liver Transplantation