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Persisting dental foci increase the risk for bacterial infections before and after liver transplant.

Clinical transplantation

Authors: Philipp Göbel, Christiane Forsting, Alexandra Klüners, Petra Knipper, Steffen Manekeller, Jacob Nattermann, Jörg C Kalff, Franz-Josef Kramer, Christian P Strassburg, Philipp Lutz

BACKGROUND: Patients awaiting liver transplant are usually assessed for presence of dental foci to prevent bacterial infection post-transplant, but evidence to support dental examination and treatment is limited. We investigated if treatment of dental foci decreased bacterial infections before and after transplant.

METHODS: Patients transplanted at the university hospital of Bonn were retrospectively assessed for occurrence of bacterial infections before and after transplant according to presence and treatment of dental foci.

RESULTS: 35/110 patients showed good oral health, 39/110 patients received dental care and 36/110 patients did not receive dental care despite poor oral health. Patients with alcohol-associated liver disease presented with the highest rate of dental foci. Bleeding complications due to oral care occurred in five patients with poor coagulation. After transplant, the number of infections per patient was higher in patients with poor oral health (2.9) compared to patients after dental care (1.9) or with good oral health (1.8) (p = .02), with streptococcal infections being more frequent in patients with poor oral health. Before transplant, bacterial infections, in particular bacteraemia and spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, were also more common in patients with untreated dental foci. Streptococci and Staphylococci were more often detected in patients with dental foci. Dental treatment was associated with a reduction in bacterial infections.

CONCLUSION: Presence of dental foci is associated with an increased risk for bacterial infections not only after but also before liver transplant. Dental treatment might be a safe and effective procedure to mitigate this risk.

© 2022 The Authors. Clinical Transplantation published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

PMID: 36372930

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