Background. The present study analyzes pretransplantation variables associated with long-term liver allograft survival in 278 children who underwent transplantation under primary tacrolimus (FK506) therapy at a single center between October 1989 and October 1996. Methods. The influence of 17 pretransplantation variables on long-term liver allograft outcome was analyzed. Donor variables included age, weight, gender, and cold ischemia time. Recipient variables included age, weight, gender, original liver disease, pretransplantation waiting time, previous abdominal surgery, United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) status, ABO blood group, bilirubin level, prothrombin time, ammonia level, creatinine level, and reduced-size/split liver grafts. Results. Overall actuarial graft survival was 79.9% at 1 year, 79.1% at 2 years, and 78.3% at 3, 4, and 5 years. Retransplantation rate was 10.8%. Pretransplantation variables with a significant adverse effect on graft survival by univariate analysis were donor age ≤1 year (P<0.004), donor weight ≤10 kg (P<0.003), UNOS status I and II (P<0.007), ABO type O, B, and AB (P<0.03), and reduced-size/split liver grafts (P < 0.02). Pretransplantation variables significant by multivariate analysis and therefore independent predictors of inferior graft outcome were donor weight ≤10 kg (relative risk [RR] 2.91, confidence interval [CI] 1.53-5.51); reduced-size/split liver grafts (RR 2.53, CI 1.30-5.64); and UNOS status I (RR 2.22, CI 1.11-4.43). Conclusions. Pediatric liver transplant recipients receiving primary tacrolimus therapy have long-term graft survival rates approaching 80%. UNOS status, donor weight, and the use of reduced-size/split liver grafts are the most important factors affecting survival.
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