TRANSPLANTATION PROCEEDINGS, vol.37, no.5, pp.2285-2289, 2005 (SCI-Expanded)
Veno-occlusive disease (VOD) of the liver occurs in 10% to 50% of patients after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT), ranging from a mild reversible disease to a fulminant course with a mortality rate close to 100%. We retrospectively evaluated the clinical signs, diagnosis, prognosis, therapy, and outcome of 13 hepatic VOD cases which developed after HSCT. A total of 193 consecutive patients (age: 15-62 years; median 33 years) with various hematologic diseases underwent 197 HSCT (allogeneic HSCT, n = 128; autologous HSCT, n = 69). In general, the conditioning regimen consisted of cyclophosphamide combined either with total body irradiation or busulfan. Since 2000, to reduce hepatic complications, all patients received ursodexycolic acid and discontinuation of norethisterone which inhibits ovulation. VOD diagnosed clinically was mainly managed in supportive fashion. Five patients received thrombolytic therapy (t-plasminogen activator [t-PA], n = 3; defibrotide [DF], n = 2). VOID developed in 13 of 197 cases (6.6%). All except one were in the allogencic group who had received a busulfan-containing conditioning regimen; Ten (77%) were severe. Thirty-three of 197 (17%) cases died before day 100 with VOID as the cause in eight (24%). All of the t-PA administered patients died with significant hemorrhagic complications. DF patients improved completely, even after renal and respiratory failure, despite high total bilirubin levels. Only one patient who received DF became a long-term survivor; the other died with sepsis during the following days. The dramatic improvement with regard to VOID during DF therapy was encouraging.