J Clin Transl Hepatol. 2022 Aug 28;10(4):770-777. doi: 10.14218/JCTH.2021.00303. Epub 2021 Oct 12.
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: The anticipated fear of serious outcomes in coronavirus infected liver transplant recipients led to disruption of transplant services globally. The aim of our study was to analyze COVID-19 severity in transplant recipients and to compare the difference of COVID-19 clinical outcomes in early (<1 year) vs. late (>1 year) post-transplant period.
METHODS: 41 post-living donor liver transplant recipients with COVID-19 infection were studied retrospectively from 1st April 2020 to 28th February 2021.
RESULTS: The median age was 49.00 years with a male preponderance (80.49%). Fifteen patients had infection within 1 year of transplant and 26 were infected after 1 year of transplant. The overall median interval between transplantation and COVID-19 diagnosis was 816.00 days. Fever and malaise were the common presenting symptoms. The most common associated comorbidities were diabetes mellitus (65.85%) and hypertension (46.34%). The severity of illness was mild in 28 (68.29%), moderate in 4 (9.76%), severe in 6 (14.63%) and critical in 3 (7.32%). To identify associated risk factors, we divided our patients into less severe and more severe groups. Except for lymphopenia, there was no worsening of total bilirubin, transaminases, alkaline phosphatase, and gamma-glutamyl transferase in the more severe group. Eight (19.51%) patients required intensive care unit admission and three (7.32%) died, while none suffered graft rejection. In recipients with early vs. late post-transplant COVID-19 infection, there were similar outcomes in terms of severity of COVID-19 illness, intensive care unit care need, requirement of respiratory support, and death.
CONCLUSION: Living donor liver transplantation can be performed during the COVID-19 pandemic without the fear of poor recipient outcome in cases of unfortunate contraction of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2.