Lymphopenia at the time of transplant is associated with short-term mortality after deceased donor liver transplantation

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American journal of transplantation


Absolute lymphocyte count (ALC) is considered a surrogate marker for nutritional status and immunocompetence. We investigated the association between ALC and post-liver transplant outcomes in patients who received a deceased donor liver transplant (DDLT). Patients were categorized by ALC at liver transplant: low (<500/μL), mid (500-1000/μL), and high ALC (>1000/μL). Our main analysis used retrospective data (2013-2018) for DDLT recipients from Henry Ford Hospital (United States); the results were further validated using data from the Toronto General Hospital (Canada). Among 449 DDLT recipients, the low ALC group demonstrated higher 180-day mortality than mid and high ALC groups (83.1% vs 95.8% and 97.4%, respectively; low vs mid: P = .001; low vs high: P < .001). A larger proportion of patients with low ALC died of sepsis compared with the combined mid/high groups (9.1% vs 0.8%; P < .001). In multivariable analysis, pretransplant ALC was associated with 180-day mortality (hazard ratio, 0.20; P = .004). Patients with low ALC had higher rates of bacteremia (22.7% vs 8.1%; P < .001) and cytomegaloviremia (15.2% vs 6.8%; P = .03) than patients with mid/high ALC. Low ALC pretransplant through postoperative day 30 was associated with 180-day mortality among patients who received rabbit antithymocyte globulin induction (P = .001). Pretransplant lymphopenia is associated with short-term mortality and a higher incidence of posttransplant infections in DDLT patients.

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Transplant and Abdominal Surgery

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