We determined the incidence and outcome of aplastic anemia among 56 patients who underwent liver transplantation for fulminant liver failure at the University of Nebraska Medical Center between July 1985 and December 1993. Aplastic anemia developed in 6 of 18 (33%) children and 1 of 19 (5%) adults who had fulminant non‐A, non‐B hepatitis; no cases of aplastic anemia occurred among patients with other causes of fulminant liver failure. None of these patients had evidence of a preexisting hematological disorder or in fection with hepatitis C virus (as determined with a second‐generation ELISA). Aplastic anemia was diagnosed at a median of 4 wk after the onset of hepatitis, with five cases seen before transplantation. Six patients received antithymocyte globulin to promote remission of aplastic anemia. Three children died (fungal infection in two, intracranial hemorrhage in one)—one at 43, one at 108 and one at 119 days after transplantation—without remission of aplastic anemia. Among the four surviving patients, with median follow‐up of 25 mo, complete and partial remission of aplastic anemia have occurred in three and one, respectively. Liver allograft function is stable in all surviving patients. The data demonstrate that aplastic anemia is a common complication among children who undergo liver transplantation for fulminant non‐A, non‐B hepatitis. It is associated with a high rate of mortality, although most survivors appear to have full hematological recovery. (Hepatology 1994;20:813‐818).
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