Serum cholestasis markers as predictors of early outcome after liver transplantation

Ziv Ben-Ari, Hemda Weiss-Schmilovitz, Jaqueline Sulkes, Marius Brown, Nathan Bar-Nathan, Ezra Shaharabani, Alexander Yussim, Zaki Shapira, Ran Tur-Kaspa, Eytan Mor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Background: Early cholestasis is not uncommon after liver transplantation and usually signifies graft dysfunction. The aim of this study was to determine if serum synthetic and cholestatic parameters measured at various time points after transplantation can predict early patient outcome, and graft function. Methods: The charts of 92 patients who underwent 95 liver transplantations at Rabin Medical Center between 1991 and 2000 were reviewed. Findings on liver function tests and levels of serum bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase (ALP), and gamma glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT) on days 2, 10, 30, and 90 after transplantation were measured in order to predict early (6 months) patient outcome (mortality and sepsis) and initial poor functioning graft. Pearson correlation, χ2 test, and Student's t-test were performed for univariate analysis, and logistic regression for multivariate analysis. Results: Univariate analysis. Serum bilirubin ≥10 mg/dL and international normalized ratio (INR) > 1.6 on days 10, 30, and 90, and high serum ALP and low albumin levels on days 30 and 90 were risk factors for 6-month mortality; serum bilirubin ≥10 mg/dL on days 10, 30, and 90, high serum ALP, high GGT, and low serum albumin, on days 30 and 90, and INR ≥1.6 on day 10 were risk factors for sepsis; high serum alanine aminotransferase, INR > 1.6, and bilirubin ≥10 mg/dL on days 2 and 10 were risk factors for poor graft function. The 6-month mortality rate was significantly higher in patients with serum bilirubin ≥10 mg/dL on day 10 than in patients with values of < 10 mg/dL (29.4% vs. 4.0%, p = 0.004). Patients who had sepsis had high mean serum ALP levels on day 30 than patients who did not (364.5 ± 229.9 U/L vs. 70.8 ± 125.6 U/L, p = 0.005). Multivariate analysis. Significant predictors of 6-month mortality were serum bilirubin ≥10 mg/dL [odds ratio (OR) 9.05, 95% confidence intervals (CI) 1.6-49.6] and INR > 1.6 (OR 9.11, CI 1.5-54.8) on day 10; significant predictors were high serum ALP level on day 30 (OR 1.005, 1.001-1.01) and high GGT level on day 90 (OR 1.005, CI 1.001-1.01). None of the variables were able to predict initial poor graft functioning. Conclusion: Several serum cholestasis markers may serve as predictors of early outcome of liver transplantation. The strongest correlation was found between serum bilirubin ≥10 mg/dL on day 10 and early death, sepsis, and poor graft function. Early intervention in patients found to be at high risk may ameliorate the high morbidity and mortality associated with early cholestasis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-136
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Transplantation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Cholestasis
  • Liver transplantation
  • Outcome
  • Predictor


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