Outcomes in children who underwent transplantation for autoimmune hepatitis.
The outcomes of 113 children with autoimmune hepatitis (AIH), registered with Studies of Pediatric Liver Transplantation and who underwent transplantation between 1995 and 2006, were compared with those who underwent transplantation for other diagnoses (non-AIH). A total of 4.9% of liver transplants were for AIH; 81% of these patients had AIH type 1 and most underwent transplantation for complications of chronic disease (60%), the majority in females (72%). Transplantation for fulminant AIH was more common in males (52.5% versus 47.5% chronic; P = 0.042). Patients with AIH differed from non-AIH patients by: age (13.0 ± 0.4 versus 4.6 ± 0.1 years; P < 0.0001), sex (64.6% female versus 52.9%; P = 0.016), ethnicity (48.7% white versus 58.2%; P < 0.0001), initial immunosuppression (tacrolimus-based: 72.6% versus 62.6%; P = 0.045; mycophenolate mofetil use: 31.0% versus 21.6%; P = 0.02), and immunosuppression at 2 years after transplant (monotherapy: 51.9% versus 17.3%; P < 0.0001). Late (>3 months), but not steroid-resistant or chronic, rejection was more common in AIH (log-rank P = 0.0015). The 5-year posttransplant survival for AIH was 86% (95% confidence interval: 73-93). Patient and graft survival, infectious and metabolic complications, and retransplantation rates did not differ between AIH and non-AIH groups. In conclusion, the higher risk for late acute rejection and greater degree of immunosuppression does not compromise outcomes of liver transplantation for AIH. Children who undergo transplantation for AIH in North America are typically female adolescents with complications of chronic AIH type 1 and include more children of African American or Latino American origin compared to the overall liver transplant population. These observations may inform detection, treatment, and surveillance strategies designed to reduce the progression of autoimmune hepatitis and subsequently, the need for transplantation.