BACKGROUND: Increased risk of cardiovascular diseases is well described after adult liver transplantation, whereas the risk in the pediatric population still is discussed. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in pediatric liver transplant recipients and whether measurements of carotid intima media thickness and pulse wave velocity were increased compared to healthy controls.

METHODS: We included 42 pediatric liver transplantation recipients and examined them for markers of metabolic syndrome, liver fibrosis measured by shear wave velocity, body fat measured by DXA scans and carotid intima-media thickness, and pulse wave velocity (n = 41 for the carotid scans). The ultrasound measurements of carotid intima-media thickness and pulse wave velocity were also conducted on 82 healthy children and adolescents matched on height and age, respectively.

RESULTS: Participants had a median age of 13.03 years, and median time since transplantation was 8.54 years. Compared to healthy controls, liver-transplanted patients had significantly increased intima-media thickness measurements in both control groups whereas there was no significant difference with regard to pulse wave velocity. Two patients (6.25%) were diagnosed with metabolic syndrome. Within the group of liver-transplanted pediatric patients, only elevated body mass index was associated with elevated carotid intima-media thickness measurement. Elevated pulse wave velocity was only associated with abdominal obesity. Factors not significantly correlated with either were age, sex, metabolic syndrome, hyperglycemia, triglycerides, years since transplantation, fibrosis of the liver, body fat content, smoking habits, HDL cholesterol levels, hypertension, and mono-drug versus multi-drug therapies.

CONCLUSION: Pediatric liver transplant recipients do have an increased risk of increased carotid intima-media thickness.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPediatric Transplantation
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)e13298
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


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