Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) currently affects more than 25% of the world population and is rising. NAFLD can progress to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis that is associated with hepatic inflammation and fibrosis and can result in cirrhosis with subsequent liver failure. Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) has now emerged as one of the leading etiologies for a liver transplant among adults in the United States. Given the rising incidence of liver transplants in patients with NASH-related cirrhosis, it is essential for anesthesiologists to be familiar with this condition as well as with NASH-related comorbidities and perioperative complications. Not only is NASH linked to metabolic syndrome, but it also is independently associated with cardiovascular disease, renal and thyroid dysfunction, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and a hypercoagulable state. The association with these conditions can affect the perioperative outcome of these patients, particularly because of increased mortality from major adverse cardiovascular events and sepsis. In order to decrease the perioperative morbidity and mortality of patients with NASH undergoing a liver transplant, a multidisciplinary approach to their perioperative management is essential, along with careful preoperative evaluation and aggressive intraoperative and postoperative monitoring. The focus of this review article is to provide a comprehensive overview of challenges associated with liver transplants in patients with NASH and to provide suggestions for appropriate patient selection and perioperative management.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine