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An Essential Guide for Managing Post-Liver Transplant Patients: What Primary Care Physicians Should Know

Published:September 08, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amjmed.2021.08.005

      Abstract

      With long-term survival after liver transplantation becoming the rule, care for medical problems arising over time in liver-transplanted patients gained increasing importance. The most common causes of death occurring more than 1 year after liver transplantation are unrelated to liver diseases and facilitated by immunosuppressive treatments; examples are malignancies, renal failure, and cardiovascular, metabolic, and infectious diseases. Recipients receive life-long follow-up care at transplant centers, however, the increasing number of liver-transplanted patients is saturating the health care supply that transplant centers have to offer. Primary care physicians are increasingly exposed to liver-transplanted patients, even in the early periods after transplant, and an understanding of the most common risks and complications faced by these patients would enhance their care. This article reviews the long-term care of liver transplant recipients, emphasizing the key internal medicine-related issues that should be known by primary care physicians. A specific section is devoted to implementing strategies to involve these physicians in the long-term follow-up of liver-transplanted patients in close collaboration with transplant hepatologists.

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