Combined liver and kidney transplants can improve the chances of patients recovering from diseases in both organs, a new study has found.
Research published today in the Archives of Surgery, a sister publication to the Journal of the American Medical Association, claims that people suffering from hepatorenal syndrome, a reversible liver condition, are more likely to have both organs accepted than a patient given a liver transplant alone.
Scientists from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), explained that hepatorenal syndrome is strongly associated with cirrhosis of the liver but is often just treated with a liver transplant.
They believe that double transplants will not only cut waiting lists but also reduce the chance of hepatorenal syndrome developing into an irreversible, more serious condition in the future.
The study involved 98 patients with an average age of 46 who received combined liver and kidney transplants between 1988 and 2004, compared against 148 patients with hepatorenal syndrome between 1998 and 2002 who had singular operations.
Only one in ten of the patients receiving joint transplants had either of the organs rejected, while for the singular operations this proportion rose to one quarter.
"Before this analysis, we recommended combined liver and kidney transplantation when patients receive hemodialysis for longer than one month before transplantation," the researchers wrote.
"Combined kidney and liver transplantation offers the best option for patients with simultaneous chronic liver and kidney failure when it is performed at a high-volume academic transplant centre," they concluded.