Peri-transplant renal dysfunction in patients with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis undergoing liver transplantation

Rakhi Maiwall, Manasvi Gupta


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is currently the most common etiology of chronic liver disease (CLD) caused by an accumulation of fat in the liver and globally is the leading indication of liver transplantation. Emerging data has recognized an increased association of NAFLD with risk of other metabolic liver diseases like type 2 diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease (CKD) and cardiovascular diseases. Pathophysiologically, NAFLD patients have a state of low-grade systemic inflammation, insulin resistance and atherogenic dyslipidemia which causes renal dysfunction. Patients with NAFLD cirrhosis awaiting liver transplant (LT) face unique challenges and have a significantly higher requirement of simultaneous-liver-kidney transplant as compared to other etiologies. Further, NAFLD not only recurs but also occurs as a de novo manifestation post-LT. There is also a significantly higher risk of waiting list stagnation and dropouts due to burdensome cardiometabolic disorders in NAFLD patients. The current review aims to understand the prevalence and pathogenetic basis of renal dysfunction in NAFLD. Additionally, the review describes the choice of immunosuppression protocols and use of intraoperative renal replacement therapy in context of intra and post-operative renal dysfunction in NAFLD patients. Prospective controlled trials focusing on NAFLD and development of CKD are needed to assess the existence of a causal and/or a bidirectional relationship between NAFLD and CKD.