Author(s): Barbero P, Garzino Demo MG, Milanesio M, Ottobrelli A
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Abstract Until the last several years liver transplantation was considered an experimental treatment procedure. Nowadays virtually any disease process, that is in terminal stage, is treatable with transplantation. The introduction of cyclosporine in 1980 and the recent use of OKT3 monoclonal antibody now allows a 5-year survival rate of 60-70\%. The causes of early death of patients who survive after surgery are infective complications, multiorgan failure and acute rejection of the allograft. In the literature and in our experience, bacterial sepsis is the most common cause of deaths occurring during the first postoperative months while most deaths after one year are generally related to chronic rejection of the allograft. The risk of infection is also increased by the over-immunosuppression of these patients always treated with a high dose of immunosuppressive agents when evidence of acute graft rejection is found. Regarding these problems, patients being prepared for liver transplantation should be evaluated for their dental health. The medical indications of 80 transplant recipients and the current status of liver transplantation are reviewed in this article. We describe the dental status of these patients that should receive indicated dental care before surgery. Most patients (90\%) were affected by chronic active hepatitis while the number of primitive cirrhosis was significantly lower. Very poor dental hygiene was found in 85\% of patients while 45\% were affected by advanced periodontal disease and 12\% by a chronic gingivitis. Dental caries were observed in 67\% while in 20\% of cases endodontic periapical lesions were found and only 2\% of these resulted as radicular cysts. Indicated dental care consisted in 87\% of cases in dental hygiene instructions, in 85\% in scaling and root planing, in 63\% in conservative restorations and in 40\% in endodontic treatments. Dental treatment guidelines before transplantation are described with particular attention to prevent risk of infection using antibiotic prophylaxis for invasive dental procedures. Dentists, after surgery must be also prepared to deal with excessive bleeding related to a severe liver disfunction; for this purpose an appropriate protocol is also described. The monitoring of oral and general health conditions and the achievement of specific protocols of prophylaxis are helpful in the prevention of complications and are fundamental to obtain the best results with liver transplantation improving the quality of life of these patients.
This article was published in Minerva Stomatol
and referenced in Journal of Transplantation Technologies & Research