Long-term outcomes of liver transplantation for homozygous familial hypercholesterolaemia in Australia and New Zealand

Michael M. Page, Winita Hardikar, George Alex, Sue Bates, Shubha Srinivasan, Michael Stormon, Kat Hall, Helen M. Evans, Peter Johnston, John Chen, Alan Wigg, Libby John, Elif I. Ekinci, Richard C. O'Brien, Robert Jones, Gerald F. Watts

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Abstract

Background and aims: Homozygous familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH) causes severe cardiovascular disease from childhood. Conventional drug therapy is usually ineffective; lipoprotein apheresis (LA) is often required. Liver transplantation (LT) can correct the metabolic defect but is considered a treatment of last resort. Newer drugs including lomitapide and evinacumab might reduce the need for apheresis and LT. We sought to determine the long-term outcomes following LT in Australia and New Zealand. Methods: We analysed demographic, biochemical and clinical data from all patients in Australia and New Zealand who have received LT for homozygous FH, identified from the Australia and New Zealand Liver and Intestinal Transplant Registry. Results: Nine patients (five female; one deceased; seven aged between 3 and 6 years at the time of LT and two aged 22 and 26 years) were identified. Mean follow-up was 14.1 years (range 4–27). Baseline LDL-cholesterol off all treatment was 23 ± 4.1 mmol/L. Mean LDL-cholesterol on medical therapy (including maximal statin therapy in all patients, ezetimibe in three and LA in five) was 11 ± 5.7 mmol/L (p < 0.001). After LT, mean LDL-cholesterol was 2.6 ± 0.9 mmol/L (p = 0.004) with three patients remaining on statin therapy and none on LA. One patient died from acute myocardial infarction (AMI) three years after LT. Two patients required aortic valve replacement, more than 10 years after LT. The remaining six patients were asymptomatic after eight to 21 years of follow-up. No significant adverse events associated with immunosuppression were reported. Conclusions: LT for homozygous FH was highly effective in achieving substantial long-term reduction in LDL-cholesterol concentrations in all nine patients. LT remains an option for severe cases of homozygous FH where drug therapy combined with apheresis is ineffective or unfeasible.

Original languageEnglish
Article number117305
JournalAtherosclerosis
Volume387
Early online date10 Oct 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

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