Title: Long-term catch-up growth and risk factors for short adult height after pediatric liver transplantation: a retrospective study
Source: Transplantation 2023, Sept 11. [E–publication]
Date of publication: September 2011
Publication type: Retrospective cohort study
Abstract: Background: Children requiring liver transplantation generally have severe growth retardation. Recipients experience posttransplantation catch-up growth, although some show short adult heights. We aimed to determine decades-long catch-up growth trends and risk factors for short adult height following liver transplantation.
Methods: We analyzed long-term height Z scores and risk factors for short adult height in a single-center retrospective cohort of 117 pediatric liver transplantation recipients who survived >5 y, with 75 of them reaching adult height.
Results: Median age at transplantation was 1.3 y, and the most common primary diagnosis was biliary atresia (76.9%). Mean height Z scores pretransplantation and 1, 3, and 8 y after transplantation were -2.26, -1.59, -0.91, and -0.59, respectively. The data then plateaued until 20 y posttransplantation when mean adult height Z score became -0.88, with a median follow-up of 18.6 y. Nineteen recipients did not show any catch-up growth, and one quarter of recipients had short adult height (<5th percentile of the healthy population). Multivariate analysis identified old age (odds ratio, 1.22 by 1 y; P = 0.002), low height Z scores at transplantation (odds ratio, 0.46 by 1 point; P < 0.001), and posttransplantation hospital stay ≥60 d (odds ratio, 4.95; P = 0.015) as risk factors for short adult height. In contrast, prolonged steroid use after transplantation was not considered a significant risk factor.
Conclusions: Although tremendous posttransplantation catch-up growth was observed, final adult height remained inadequate. For healthy physical growth, liver transplantation should be performed as early as possible, before growth retardation becomes severe.