An iron loaded liver from a 40 year old man with occult haemochromatosis was transplanted into a 19 year old woman with acute liver failure secondary to a paracetamol overdose. Increased parenchymal hepatic iron was found in a liver specimen at biopsy undertaken because of mild rejection 30 days after transplantation. After transplantation the patient had two episodes of liver rejection confirmed by biopsy. The hepatic iron concentration fell from 161 mumol/g on day 30 after transplant to 26.5 mumol/g (normal less than 40) on day 210. Iron absorption, measured 45 days after transplant, was in the normal range at 12.4%. The rapid fall in hepatic iron and the normal iron absorption study result suggest that the genetic defect of haemochromatosis is not exclusively an intrahepatic defect.
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