Background: Iron overload is associated with fatal cardiovascular events following liver transplantation. Myocardial iron deposits were observed post-mortem in patients who died of cardiac events after transplantation at our institution. This observation prompted testing to exclude cardiac iron in subsequent transplant candidates.Aims: To assess the results of testing for iron overload in liver transplant candidates at our institution.Methods: Ferritin, TIBC, and serum iron were measured in cirrhotics referred for transplantation. Patients with transferrin saturation ≥50% and ferritin ≥250 ng/mL underwent liver biopsy graded for iron. Patients with 3-4+ hepatic iron deposits underwent HFE mutation analysis and endomyocardial biopsy with iron staining.Results: Eight hundred and fifty-six patients were evaluated for liver transplantation between January 1997 and March 2005. Two hundred and eighty-seven patients (34%) had transferrin saturation ≥50% and ferritin ≥250 ng/mL. Patients with markers of iron overload had more advanced liver disease than those with normal iron indices. One hundred and fifty-three patients underwent liver biopsy. Twenty-six patients (17%) had 3-4+ hepatic iron staining. One patient was a C282Y heterozygote. Endomyocardial biopsy was performed in 14 patients of whom nine had cardiac iron deposition.Conclusions: Non-HFE-related cardiac iron overload can occur in advanced liver disease We therefore recommend screening for cardiac iron prior to liver transplantation.
- Liver transplantation
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