Liver transplantation and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

Petros Zezos, Eberhard L Renner
World Journal of Gastroenterology: WJG 2014 November 14, 20 (42): 15532-8
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is an important health problem worldwide. NAFLD encompasses a histological spectrum ranging from bland liver steatosis to severe steatohepatitis (nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, NASH) with the potential of progressing to cirrhosis and its associated morbidity and mortality. NAFLD is thought to be the hepatic manifestation of insulin resistance (or the metabolic syndrome); its prevalence is increasing worldwide in parallel with the obesity epidemic. In many developed countries, NAFLD is the most common cause of liver disease and NASH related cirrhosis is currently the third most common indication for liver transplantation. NASH related cirrhosis is anticipated to become the leading indication for liver transplantation within the next one or two decades. In this review, we discuss how liver transplantation is affected by NAFLD, specifically the following: (1) the increasing need for liver transplantation due to NASH; (2) the impact of the increasing prevalence of NAFLD in the general population on the quality of deceased and live donor livers available for transplantation; (3) the long term graft and patient outcomes after liver transplantation for NASH, and finally; and (4) the de novo occurrence of NAFLD/NASH after liver transplantation and its impact on graft and patient outcomes.

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