Status of liver and gastrointestinal transplantation at the University of Miami.

D. Weppler, R. Khan, G. P. Fragulidis, J. R. Nery, C. Ricordi, A. G. Tzakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The liver transplant program at the University of Miami, established in 1987, was rejuvenated in June 1994 with the addition of new staff and expanded to include all organs of the gastrointestinal tract. Since its inception, 630 patients have been transplanted in the program. During the past 2 years we performed 349 transplants in 318 patients (livers n = 323 in 298 patients, liver + kidneys n = 13, liver + islet n = 10, liver + kidney + islets n = 1, liver + heart n = 10, liver + lung n = 1). These included 4 split-liver, 3 living-related, multiple reduced-sized and one "Domino" liver transplant. We have an active pediatric program and 10% of our transplanted patients are pediatric. Our overall patient and graft survival rates were 81% and 78%, respectively. The intestinal transplant program was launched in August 1994. To date we have performed 22 intestinal transplants, in 9 adults and 13 children. These transplants included 4 isolated intestinal, 11 combined liver-intestinal and 7 multivisceral transplants. Overall patient and graft survival rates were 55% and 50%, respectively. During the past 2 years several studies involving immunosuppressive agents were carried out: 1)Mycophenolate Mofetil (MMF) was used as induction therapy and as rescue therapy in patients with steroid-resistant rejection. Tacrolimus toxicity, and chronic rejection; 2) Neoral was compared with Tacrolimus in patients with Hepatitis C; and 3) MMF was added as triple therapy for the intestinal transplants. We used alpha interferon-2b (alpha-IFN) in hepatitis C positive patients in the early posttransplant period and found that it appears to be a safe drug. There was no increase in rejection in patients receiving alpha-IFN, and patient and graft survival were the same as in our overall patient population. A combination a-IFN with Ribavirin will be undertaken in the near future. The use of Lamivudine in hepatitis B patients was shown to be effective in preventing and treating recurrence of hepatitis B posttransplant. Unmodified donor bone marrow cells (DBMC) were isolated from the vertebral bodies of the same cadaveric liver donors. Donor bone marrow dose, number of cells and/or number (or timing) of infusions were investigated to determine which variables affected the ability of DBMC to engraft in the liver recipient. The long-term benefit of DBMC needs further follow-up. Although, our patient and graft survival for liver transplant recipients is comparable to other large centers nationally and internationally, we still have some challenges to overcome. These include: 1) control and prevention of recurrent HCV, 2) improved treatment for hepatocellular cancer pre- and posttransplant, and 3) treatment and prevention of chronic rejection. Intestinal transplantation remains an even greater challenge. Diagnostic tests to determine intestinal function need further development and although MMF has shown some promise in this field, newer immunosuppressive medications need to be investigated to prevent rejection and avoid over immunosuppression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-201
Number of pages15
JournalClinical transplants
StatePublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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