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Ann Surg. 2002 Jul;236(1):120-6.

Donor health assessment after living-donor liver transplantation.

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  • 1Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.



To elicit donor opinions on liver living donation through use of a survey that protected the anonymity of the respondent and to assay long-term (follow-up > 1 year) donor health by a widely recognized instrument for health assessment.


Living-donor liver transplantation is an accepted technique for children that has recently been extended to adults. Limited donor outcomes data suggest favorable results, but no outcomes data have been reported using an instrument that elicits an anonymous response from the donor or employs a widely recognized health survey.


Forty-one living-donors between June 1992 and June 1999 were identified and included in this study, regardless of specific donor or recipient outcome. Each donor received a 68-question survey and a standard McMaster Health Index.


Survey response was 80%. All donors were satisfied with the information provided to them before donation. Eighty-eight percent of donors initially learned of living donation only after their child had been diagnosed with liver disease: 44% through the transplant center, 40% by popular media, 12% by their pediatrician, and 4% by their primary care physician. Physical symptoms, including pain and the surgical wound, were recurrent items of concern. Perception of time to "complete" recovery were less than 3 months (74%), 3 to 6 months (16%), and more than 6 months (10%). Donors' return to physical activities was shown by above-mean McMaster physical scores; scores for social and emotional health were not different from population data. There were no reported changes in sexual function or menstruation after donation, and five of six donors procreated.


Donors overwhelmingly endorsed living donation regardless of recipient outcome or the occurrence of a complication. Eighty-nine percent advocated "increased" application of living donation beyond "emergency situations," and no donor responded that living donation should be abandoned or that he or she felt "forced" to donate.

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