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Background: Hepatic steatosis is strongly associated with cardiovascular disease in the general population. Whether recurrent or de novo, it can occur in the allograft, but the impact on survival and long-term clinical outcomes remains unclear. In this study, we aim to determine both the frequency and impact of allograft steatosis on long-term posttransplant outcomes.

Methods: A retrospective review of 588 adult liver transplant (LT) recipients (1999-2006) was performed. Cox regression analysis (time-dependent) was used to evaluate differences in time to steatosis post-LT, patient survival, and cardiovascular outcomes.

Results: Mean age 51.9 /- 10.6 years, 64.6% males, underlying nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) (9.4%), previous tobacco (52%), pre-LT diabetes mellitus (30.3%), pre-LT hypertension (23.2%), and known cardiovascular disease (9.7%). Overall, 254 recipients developed allograft steatosis (at 10 years: 77.6% NASH recipients, 44.7% Non-NASH recipients). Risk factors for allograft steatosis were female sex (hazard ratio [HR], 1.47; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.09-2.00; P = 0.014), hepatitis C virus diagnosis (HR, 2.49; 95% CI, 1.77-3.94; P < 0.001), and time-dependent BMI (per unit: HR, 1.08; 95% CI, 1.05-1.10; P < 0.001). Allograft steatosis was not associated with post-LT survival (P = 0.25) nor cardiovascular events (HR, 1.08; 95% CI, 0.73-1.59; P = 0.70). Underlying NASH associated with cardiovascular events (HR, 2.04; 95% CI, 1.37-3.04; P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Allograft steatosis is common but not associated with survival or cardiovascular events in this study. Larger prospective studies are needed to better define the natural history of allograft steatosis.

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