Outcomes After Transplantation are the Same for Patients Who are Obese and Those with Lower BMI

Presented: Sunday, November 15, 2015 - 5:15 pm - Moscone West Convention Center

Nov 15, 2015, 11:02 ET from American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD)

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 15, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Researchers from the Oregon Health & Science University presented a study at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases that calls into question the prevailing practice of excluding morbidly obese patients for liver transplantation.

By examining the U.S. national transplant database, principal investigators Barry Schlansky, MD, MPH; C. Kristian Enestvedt, MD, FACS; and their team observed that obese patients experienced the same risk of dying after liver transplantation as normal weight patients. Past research suggested that very obese patients fare worse after liver transplantation, leading to recommendations to avoid transplant in these patients. The current research shows that there has been an improvement in outcomes for very obese patients receiving liver transplants over the past decade.

Surprisingly, Dr. Schlansky and his colleagues also found that very obese patients died more often than lower weight patients while on the wait list for liver transplantation. Because obese patients died more often before transplant but had the same risk of dying after transplant, the researchers concluded that obese patients gained a greater survival benefit from liver transplantation than normal weight patients.

"Our study revealed that obese patients benefit more from liver transplantation than lower weight patients, and suggests that we should consider lowering weight restrictions for patients who are otherwise good candidates for liver transplant," said Dr. Schlansky.

Dr. Schlansky also addressed the potential challenges facing the liver transplantation field, "Obesity brings unique challenges to liver transplantation, such as increased risks of diabetes, heart and kidney disease. The liver transplant community will have to learn how to better deal with these issues if we begin transplanting more obese patients."

Based on their findings, they argue that obese and normal weight patients should be given the same consideration for liver transplantation if they are otherwise good candidates for this life-saving procedure.

"Most U.S. liver transplant centers follow general recommendations that recommend against transplanting very obese patients. We hope our research will open the possibility for centers to consider liver transplantation for very obese patients who are otherwise good candidates," concluded Dr. Schlansky.

Abstract title: Liver transplant outcomes and survival benefit for obese patients in the United States: Are we disadvantaging the morbidly obese?

AASLD is the leading medical organization for advancing the science and practice of hepatology. Founded by physicians in 1950, AASLD's vision is to prevent and cure liver diseases. This year's Liver Meeting®, held in San Francisco, CA, November 14-17, will bring together more than 9,000 researchers from 55 countries.

A pressroom will be available from November 13 at the annual meeting. For copies of abstracts and press releases, or to arrange researcher interviews, contact Gregory Bologna at 703-299-9766.

Press releases and all abstracts are available online at www.aasld.org.

Media Contact: Gregory Bologna
Press Room: November 13 – 17, 2015
Moscone West Convention Center, San Francisco, CA
Telephone: 415-348-4404

Researcher: Barry Schlansky, MD, MPH
Email: schlansk@ohsu.edu
Phone: 503-597-8278  

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SOURCE American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD)