Primary Non-Function of Hepatic Allograft With Preexisting Microvesicular Steatosis/Foamy Degeneration and Mild Large-Droplet Macrovesicular Steatosis

Melissa E. Limia, Xiu Li Liu, Jennifer Yu, Kathleen Byrnes


It has been established that more than mild large-droplet macrovesicular steatosis (LD-MAS) is associated with increased risk of graft non-function. In contrast, even severe small-droplet macrovesicular steatosis (SD-MAS) has been found to be less prognostically significant. It remains unclear if a donor liver with diffuse microvesicular steatosis is associated with an increased risk of graft dysfunction. A 56-year-old male with alcoholic cirrhosis was transplanted with a liver from a 42-year-old overweight male donor after brain death. The frozen section of the donor liver biopsy taken at harvest showed diffusely enlarged clear/foamy hepatocytes and mild LD-MAS (about 5-10% of total tissue). The reperfusion liver biopsy taken at time 0 of transplantation showed hemorrhage, pale and enlarged hepatocytes, and mild LD-MAS (about 10% of total tissue) with lipopeliosis. The graft became non-functional, and the patient was re-transplanted 24 h after the initial transplantation. Histologic examination of the failed liver allograft showed extensive hemorrhagic necrosis, neutrophilic inflammation, diffuse microvesicular steatosis, and large extracellular fat droplets (about 20% of total tissue). This case demonstrates that precautions are needed to avoid using livers with diffuse and severe microvesicular steatosis.

Gastroenterol Res. 2024;17(1):37-40


Donor liver; Foamy degeneration; Frozen section; Large-droplet macrovesicular steatosis; Liver transplant; Microvesicular steatosis; Primary nonfunction

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