Liver transplantation after jejunoileal bypass for morbid obesity

Jeffrey A. Lowell, Surendra Shenoy, Rheem Ghalib, Gary Caldwell, Frances V. White, Marion Peters, Todd K. Howard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Background: Jejunoileal (JI) bypass was developed as a therapy for morbid obesity in the late 1960s but has since been abandoned because of a high rate of complications, including cirrhosis. The need for liver transplantation after JI bypass has been infrequent, with only four previous patients reported in the literature; however, because the time to develop symptomatic endstage liver disease after JI bypass may be quite long (25 years or more), the incidence of patients who will require liver transplantation may only now be increasing. Study Design: We reviewed our experience with JI bypass and liver transplantation in 380 consecutive adult patients since 1985. Results: Four patients underwent liver transplantation for cirrhosis after JI bypass, all within the last 48 months. The mean duration of time from JI bypass to transplantation was 22.3 years. All patients had complications, in addition to their liver disease, which were related to the JI bypass, which included nephrolithiasis, cholelithiasis, vitamin deficiencies, renal insufficiency, and d-lactic acidosis. One patient had the JI bypass taken down before transplantation, which precipitated acute liver and renal failure, necessitating urgent transplantation. One patient, who had the JI bypass taken down at the time of transplant, has developed recurrent morbid obesity, while the other three patients have not. The one patient who has not had the JI bypass taken down has not developed evidence of recurrent liver disease and is followed with monthly liver function tests and yearly biopsies. Conclusions: The incidence of patients who require liver transplantation after JI bypass may be on the increase. Take down of the JI bypass may precipitate acute liver failure in the cirrhotic patient. JI bypass should be accomplished either at the time of transplantation or if signs of liver dysfunction occur after transplantation. Liver transplant recipients can be at risk for recurrent obesity after takedown of the JI bypass. Transplantation for those patients with decompensated cirrhosis after JI bypass has demonstrated excellent early results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-127
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American College of Surgeons
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997


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