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HPB (Oxford). 2010 Oct;12(8):523-30. doi: 10.1111/j.1477-2574.2010.00193.x.

Rescue policy for discarded liver grafts: a single-centre experience of transplanting livers 'that nobody wants'.

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  • 1Department of General Surgery, Hospital Alemán of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina.



There is a worldwide need to expand the donor liver pool. We report a consecutive series of elective candidates for liver transplantation (LT) who received 'livers that nobody wants' (LNWs) in Argentina.


Between 2006 and 2009, outcomes for patients who received LNWs were analysed and compared with outcomes for a control group. To be defined as an LNW, an organ is required to fulfil two criteria. Firstly, each liver must be officially offered and refused more than 30 times; secondly, the liver must be refused by at least 50% of the LT programmes in our country before our programme can accept it. Principal endpoints were primary graft non-function (PNF), mortality, and graft and patient survival.


We transplanted 26 LNWs that had been discarded by a median of 12 centres. A total of 2666 reasons for refusal had been registered. These included poor donor status (n= 1980), followed by LT centre (n= 398) or recipient (n= 288) conditions. Incidences of PNF (3.8% vs. 4.0%), in-hospital mortality (3.8% vs. 8.0%), 1-year patient (84% vs. 84%) and graft (84% vs. 80%) survival were equal in the LNW and control groups.


Transplantable livers are unnecessarily discarded by the transplant community. External and internal supervision of the activity of each LT programme is urgently needed to guarantee high standards of excellence.

© 2010 International Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association.

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