BACKGROUND: Long-time survivors of pediatric liver transplantation have an increased incidence of the metabolic syndrome. Adult recipients have an increased risk of post-transplantation obesity; however, pediatric data are limited.
METHODS: The study included 42 recipients of pediatric liver transplantation in Denmark, transplanted between 1990 and 2014. The study participants were examined with anthropometric measures, dual-energy X-ray scans and blood samples. From the anthropometric measures, body mass index (BMI) and BMI standard deviation score (SDS) were calculated. From the dual-energy X-ray scans, fat percent was assessed, and body fat mass index (BFMI) was calculated.
RESULTS: The median age was 17.4 years (range 4.1-38.9) at the time of the study, and the median time since transplantation was 8.5 years (range 0.4-23.9). The prevalence of overweight and obesity was 31.0% based on BMI SDS (age below 18) and BMI (age 18 and above). When compared to the participants with normal weight, the participants with overweight and obesity had a higher BFMI (9.29 vs 5.57 kg/m2 , p < .001) and fat percent (38.35% vs 29.50%, p = .006). They had higher levels of total cholesterol (4.3 vs 3.6 mmol/L, p = .023) and low-density lipoprotein (2.5 vs 1.7, p = .015), and had had longer time since transplantation (15.6 vs 8.5 years respectively, p = .045).
CONCLUSIONS: Long-time survivors of pediatric liver transplantation have a higher BMI or BMI SDS than the general pediatric population. The obesity is characterized by a higher BFMI, fat percent, and cholesterols levels, when compared to recipients without overweight or obesity.