October 19, 2021

Do Liver Conditions Up Risk of Severe COVID-19? It Depends

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Liver transplantation was not associated with increased risk of death from COVID-19, a researcher reported at the digital Internal Liver Congress, the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL).

While ICU admission and invasive ventilation was more common in liver transplant patients, a lower proportion of liver transplant patients died compared with those without a transplant (19% vs 27%, P=0.046), said Gwilym Webb, MD, of Oxford University Hospitals in England.

“This is very important data, because there was a lot of concern with transplant patients that there may be a higher risk of dying,” said Thomas Berg, MD, of the University of Leipzig in Germany, at an EASL press conference. The findings also were published in the Lancet Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Webb and colleagues examined data from 151 adult liver transplant patients from 18 countries using data from the EASL-affiliated COVID-Hep registry, as well as the U.S.-based SECURE-Cirrhosis registry. Transplant patients were a median of age 60, while almost 70% were men. A matched cohort had 627 patients who had not undergone liver transplantation (median age 73; 52% were men). All patients were diagnosed with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection from March 25 to June 26.

They noted there was no significant difference in the proportion of patients hospitalized or who required intensive care, though ICU admission (28% vs 8%, respectively ) and invasive ventilation (20% vs 5%, respectively, P<0.0001 for both) were higher in the transplant cohort versus those without a transplant.

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