The impact of post-transplant diabetes mellitus on liver transplant outcomes

Sarah R. Lieber, Ruth Ann Lee, Yue Jiang, Claire Reuter, Randall Watkins, Kristen Szempruch, David A. Gerber, Chirag S. Desai, G. Stephen DeCherney, A. Sidney Barritt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Background: Post-transplant diabetes mellitus (PTDM) is common after liver transplantation (LT). Yet, how PTDM relates to graft outcomes and survival needs elucidation as more individuals are transplanted for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Methods: This single-center, retrospective study of adult LT recipients (2003-2016) identified PTDM incidence and associations with graft steatosis, rejection, and post-LT patient survival. Multivariable analysis investigated predictors of PTDM. Kaplan-Meier curves depicted patient survival 5 years post-LT. Results: Among 415 adult LT recipients, 23% had pre-LT DM and 13% were transplanted for NAFLD. PTDM incidence was 34.7%, 46.9%, and 56.2% and overall survival was 90%, 80.9%, and 71.7% at 1, 3, and 5 years, respectively. Over a third of non-NAFLD patients developed PTDM. Half of PTDM cases developed by 6 months and 75% by 12 months. The PTDM group had more rejection episodes compared to no PTDM (31.9% vs 21.8%, P = 0.055), with trends toward worse patient survival 5 years post-LT (log-rank test P = 0.254). Age was the only significant predictor of PTDM. Conclusions: Post-transplant diabetes mellitus occurs rapidly in the post-LT period and is a significant problem for both NAFLD and non-NAFLD LT recipients. Age is a significant risk factor for PTDM. Outcomes trended toward increased rejection and worse survival among PTDM individuals, suggesting the benefit of early strategies targeting glucose control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere13554
JournalClinical Transplantation
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • hyperglycemia
  • liver transplantation
  • post-transplant diabetes mellitus
  • transplant outcomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation


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