University Hospital, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, USA.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW:
Liver transplantation is the treatment of choice for patients with chronic end-stage liver disease. The posttransplant setting is complex, and an improved long-term graft and patient survival adds to the complexity. There are often multiple causes of graft dysfunction and the associated morbidity and disorder are varied. This review focuses on the current concepts of several recurrent diseases, emphasizing the interpretation of the posttransplant liver biopsies in long-term survivors as challenging and clinically more relevant then ever. It confirms the importance and the necessity of clinico-pathologic correlation in the posttransplant setting.
The long-term graft and patient survival following liver transplantation has improved significantly over the past decade. The spectrum of histopathologic patterns seen in liver biopsies and our understanding of them have evolved and expanded considerably, so much so, that both pathologists and clinicians alike now recognize new and emerging disease patterns not previously encountered in the nontransplant setting.
Typical histopathologic features are usually easily identified and interpreted in liver biopsies. There are, however, a number of atypical histopathologic patterns, especially in the setting of recurrent diseases, often modified by immunosuppression, or altered by other immune-mediated processes, autoimmunity, or hepatotoxicity. Several conditions and entities, especially in the late posttransplant setting, including atypical allograft rejection, idiopathic posttransplant hepatitis, the spectrum of changes seen in recurrent hepatitis C, nodular regenerative hyperplasia, and de-novo disease occurrence, to name a few, have all been recognized in the past several years.