A decrease in the need for liver transplantations (LTX) in Primary Biliary Cirrhosis (PBC), possibly related to treatment with ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA), has been reported in the USA and UK. The aim of this study was to assess LTX requirements in PBC over the past 20 years in the Netherlands.
Analysis of PBC transplant data of the Dutch Organ Transplant Registry during the period 1988-2008, including both absolute and proportional numbers. The indication for LTX was categorized as liver failure, hepatocellular carcinoma or poor quality of life (severe fatigue or pruritus). Data were analysed for two decades: 1.1.1988-31.12.1997 (1st) and 1.1.1998-31.12.2007 (2nd). The severity of disease was quantified using MELD scores. To fit lines which show trends over time we applied a linear regression model.
A total of 110 patients (87% women) was placed on the waiting list. 105 patients were transplanted (1st: 61, 2nd: 44), 5 (5%) died while listed. The absolute annual number of LTX for PBC slightly decreased during the 20 year period, the proportional number decreased significantly. At the time of LTX the mean age was 53.6 yrs. (1st: 53.4, 2nd: 53.8), the mean MELD score 13.9 (1st:14.5, 2nd:13.0). The median interval from diagnosis to LTX was 90.5 months (1st:86.5, 2nd: 93.5). 69% of patients was treated with UDCA (1st 38%, 2nd 82%).
Over the past 20 years the absolute number of LTX for PBC in the Netherlands showed a tendency to decrease whereas the proportional decrease was significant. There was a trend over time toward earlier transplantation.