The lack of information on survival in young adults with cirrhosis and the increasing use of liver transplantation in this age group have led us to carry out a retrospective analysis of the clinical course and survival in 83 young adults aged between 15 and 30 years presenting to the Liver Unit between 1970 and 1983. Fifty four (65%) patients had cirrhosis at initial presentation and in the remaining 29 (35%) this developed within the study period. The overall five year survival of the group, excluding 14 cases treated by transplantation, was 70%. When considered according to aetiological groups this was 83% in those with chronic active hepatitis, 60% in those with cryptogenic cirrhosis and 37% in Wilson's disease. When considered in relation to Child's grading, only three deaths occurred in the 45 patients with well-compensated liver disease (Child's grade A and B). Of the 38 patients with Child's grade C, 20 (83%) of the 24 patients not undergoing transplantation have died, whereas eight (57%) of the 14 receiving liver grafts are alive and well.
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