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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


eISSN: 2329-0358

Pre-Liver Transplant Muscle Loss Is a Risk Factor for Post-Liver Transplantation Left Ventricular Systolic Dysfunction

Arun Mathew, Dina Halegoua-De Marzio, Sheela Reddy, She-Yan Wong, Michael Cheung, Heather Mosca, Flavius Guglielmo, Ethan Halpern, David A. Sass, Cataldo Doria

Department of Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Ann Transplant 2017; 22:759-764

DOI: 10.12659/AOT.905610

Available online:

Published: 2017-12-22


BACKGROUND: The development of left ventricular systolic dysfunction (LVSD) after liver transplant (LT) can result in increased morbidity and mortality in the immediate period following liver transplant. The aim of this study was to evaluate low muscle mass due to chronic liver disease, as a potential risk factor for LVSD after LT.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: A retrospective chart review was completed for all adult patients who received a liver transplant between January 2002 and January 2015 at a single academic LT center. Collected data included patient demographics, medical history, laboratory data, radiology results, and pathology. Echocardiograms were reviewed for patients identified as having LVSD diagnosed within 1 year after LT (left ventricular ejection fraction <55%). The total psoas area (TPA), a marker of low muscle mass, was determined by measuring the average cross-sectional area of the psoas muscle on MRI or CT scans before transplant at the level of L4 vertebra.
RESULTS: Of the 503 post-LT patients reviewed, 144 (28.6%) had pre-and post-LT echocardiograms. Of these 144 patients, 17 developed LVSD, of which 15 (88.2%) occurred within 1 year after LT. The average age at transplant of those with LVSD was 58.9±6 years, with a mean MELD score of 30.7±6. The mean TPA normalized for height for patients with LVSD was 297.68±86.99 mm²/m² compared to 382.1±104.2 mm²/m² for those with normal EF (p= 0.002). BMI, MELD score, and etiology of cirrhosis were not significant risk factors for post-LT LVSD in our study population. During the study period, 35.2% (n=6) of LVSD patients died within 1 year after LT.
CONCLUSIONS: Although LVSD is thought to be a rare complication after LT, those with muscle loss as predicted by mean TPA measurements normalized for height may be at highest risk.

Keywords: Liver Transplantation, sarcopenia, Ventricular Dysfunction, Left