Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and liver transplantation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes


Cirrhosis secondary to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a common indication for liver transplant. In comparison to other cirrhotic patients, patients with NASH cirrhosis are more likely to be older and have the metabolic syndrome. Pre-transplant, patients require careful evaluation of cardiovascular risk.

As the incidence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is rising, a greater proportion of donor grafts have steatosis greater than 30%, which is associated with poor outcomes. Grafts with steatosis greater than 60% are unsuitable for transplant.

Overall, post-transplant survival outcomes for patients with NASH cirrhosis are similar to those with cirrhosis without NASH. However, NASH cirrhosis is associated with a higher 30-day mortality, predominantly from an increase in cardiovascular events and infections.

Following liver transplant, there is a significant risk of NASH recurrence, although this seldom results in allograft loss. Furthermore, a significant number of patients who had a liver transplant for other reasons develop NASH de novo.

When patients with NASH cirrhosis are considered for transplant, one of the major challenges lies in identifying which patients are too high risk for surgery. This review aims to provide information to aid this decision making process, and to provide guidance on the peri-operative care strategies that can modify risk.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1208–1223
Issue number8
Early online date3 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016


  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, Liver transplantation, Metabolic syndrome