Low sodium levels pre-transplant does not affect liver transplant recipient survival

April 1, 2014

Researchers report that low levels of sodium, known as hyponatremia, prior to transplantation does not increase the risk of death following liver transplant. Full findings are published in Liver Transplantation, a journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases and the International Liver Transplantation Society.

Medical evidence shows that low sodium concentration is common in patients with end stage liver disease (ESLD), with roughly half of those with cirrhosis having below the normal range of 135-145 mmol/L. Moreover, previous research suggests that hyponatremia is linked to complications including bacterial infections, kidney failure and encephalopathy, and increases mortality in patients with ESLD. Following liver transplantation sodium levels will return to normal.

"There is much debate within the transplant community about whether to incorporate measures of serum sodium in the organ allocation system in the U.S.," explains lead author Dr. W. Ray Kim from Stanford University in Calif., and formerly with the Mayo Clinic where the research took place. "Understanding the impact of sodium concentrations in patients prior to and following liver transplantation is an important contribution to this debate."

Using data from the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) researchers identified 19,537 patients 18 years of age or older who received a liver transplant in the U.S. between 2003 and 2010. Subjects were split into three groups: those with hyponatremia (sodium levels less than 130 mEq/L); normal sodium levels (serum sodium between131-145mEq/L); and hypernatremia (high sodium levels great than 145mEq/L).

"While our findings confirm that low sodium levels prior to transplant were a strong risk factor for waitlist mortality it was not associated with higher death risk following ," concludes Dr. Kim. "Our data suggests that using levels to determine organ allocation priority will not impact survival following a ."

More information: "The Effect of Pretransplant Serum Sodium Concentration on Outcome Following Liver Transplantation." Michael D. Leise, Byung Cheol Yun, Joseph J. Larson, Joanne T. Benson, Ju DongYang, Terry M. Therneau, Charles B. Rosen, Julie K. Heimbach, Scott W. Biggins and W. Ray Kim.Liver Transplantation; DOI: 10.1002/lt.23860

Related Stories

Recommended for you

A recipe for long-lasting livers

April 22, 2015

People waiting for organ transplants may soon have higher hopes of getting the help that they need in time. Researchers at the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology have developed a new technique that extends the time that ...

Surgeon to offer ideas on a way to do human head transplants

February 26, 2015

Sergio Canavero of the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group has made it known that he intends to announce at this summer's American Academy of Neurological and Orthopedic Surgeons meeting, that he believes he has put together ...

New tool helps guide brain cancer surgery

July 3, 2014

A tool to help brain surgeons test and more precisely remove cancerous tissue was successfully used during surgery, according to a Purdue University and Brigham and Women's Hospital study.

New imaging technique sharpens surgeons' vision

February 11, 2014

Which superhuman power would you choose for help on the job? For Dr. Julie Margenthaler, it's a technology that brings to mind X-ray vision, used for the first time Monday during an operation to remove a patient's lymph node.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.