Liver transplantation represents a life-saving treatment for patients with decompensated cirrhosis, a severe condition associated with a high risk of waiting list mortality. When decompensation occurs rapidly in the presence of extrahepatic organ failures, the condition is called acute-on-chronic liver failure, which is associated with an even higher risk of death, though liver transplantation can also markedly improve survival in affected patients. However, there are still gaps in our understanding of how to optimise prioritisation and organ allocation, as well as survival among patients with acute-on-chronic liver failure (both before and after transplant). Moreover, it is urgent to address inequalities in access to liver transplantation in patients with severe alcoholic hepatitis and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. Several controversies still exist regarding gender and regional disparities, as well as the use of suboptimal donor grafts. In this review, we aim to provide a critical perspective on the role of liver transplantation in patients with decompensated cirrhosis and address areas of ongoing uncertainty.
Patrizia Burra, Didier Samuel, Vinay Sundaram, Christophe Duvoux, Henrik Petrowsky, Norah Terrault, Rajiv Jalan