Infections in Liver Transplantation

  • B. Sharmila Mohanraj
  • Amol S. Rangnekar
  • Joseph G. TimponeJr.Email author


Liver transplantation has become an important treatment modality for patients with end-stage liver disease/cirrhosis, acute liver failure, and hepatocellular carcinoma. Although surgical techniques and immunosuppressive regimens for liver transplantation have improved significantly over the past 20 years, infectious complications continue to contribute to the morbidity and mortality in this patient population. The use of standardized screening protocols for both donors and recipients, coupled with targeted prophylaxis against specific pathogens, has helped to mitigate the risk of infection in liver transplant recipients. Patients with chronic liver disease and cirrhosis have immunological deficits that place them at increased risk for infection while awaiting liver transplantation. The patient undergoing liver transplantation is prone to develop healthcare-acquired infections due to multidrug-resistant organisms that could potentially affect patient outcomes after transplantation. The complex nature of liver transplant surgery that involves multiple vascular and hepatobiliary anastomoses further increases the risk of infection after liver transplantation. During the early post-transplantation period, healthcare-acquired bacterial and fungal infections are the most common types of infection encountered in liver transplant recipients. The period of maximal immunosuppression that occurs at 1–6 months after transplantation can be complicated by opportunistic infections due to both primary infection and reactivation of latent infection. Severe community-acquired infections can complicate the course of liver transplantation beyond 12 months after transplant surgery. This chapter provides an overview of liver transplantation including indications, donor-recipient selection criteria, surgical procedures, and immunosuppressive therapies. A focus on infections in patients with chronic liver disease/cirrhosis and an overview of the specific infectious complications in liver transplant recipients are presented.


Orthotopic liver transplant End-stage liver disease Acute liver failure Deceased donor transplant Living donor transplant Antirejection drugs Infectious complications of liver transplant Healthcare-acquired infections Opportunistic infections Chronic hepatitis C infection Recurrence of viral hepatitis post-transplant 



The authors express their deepest appreciation to Jonathan Kumar for his assistance with manuscript preparation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Sharmila Mohanraj
    • 1
  • Amol S. Rangnekar
    • 2
  • Joseph G. TimponeJr.
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, Division of Infectious Diseases and Travel MedicineWashington, DCUSA
  2. 2.MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, MedStar Georgetown Transplant InstituteWashington, DCUSA

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