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Liver transplantation for Wilson disease

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Author(s): Andreea M Catana | Valentina Medici

Journal: World Journal of Hepatology
ISSN 1948-5182

Volume: 4;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 5;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Wilson disease | Liver transplantation | Copper | Indications | Contraindications

ABSTRACT
The aim of this paper is to review the current status of liver transplantation (LT) for Wilson disease (WD), focusing on indications and controversies, especially in patients with neuropsychiatric disease, and on identification of acute liver failure (ALF) cases related to WD. LT remains the treatment of choice for patients with ALF, as initial presentation of WD or when anti-copper agents are stopped, and for patients with chronic liver disease progressed to cirrhosis, unresponsive to chelating medications or not timely treated with copper chelating agents. The indication for LT in WD remains highly debated in patients with progressive neurological deterioration and failure to improve with appropriate medical treatment. In case of Wilsonian ALF, early identification is key as mortality is 100% without emergency LT. As many of the copper metabolism parameters are believed to be less reliable in ALF, simple biochemical tests have been proposed for diagnosis of acute WD with good sensitivity and specificity. LT corrects copper metabolism and complications resulting from WD with excellent 1 and 5 year survival. Living related liver transplantation represents an alternative to deceased donor LT with excellent long-term survival, without disease recurrence. Future options may include hepatocyte transplantation and gene therapy. Although both of these have shown promising results in animal models of WD, prospective human studies are much needed to demonstrate their long-term beneficial effects and their potential to replace the need for medical therapy and LT in patients with WD.

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