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Ann Surg. 2001 Apr;233(4):565-74.

Split-liver transplantation for two adult recipients: feasibility and long-term outcomes.

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Centre Hépatobiliaire, UPRES 1596, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, Université Paris Sud, Hôpital Paul Brousse, Villejuif, France.



To identify the outcomes and risks of split-liver transplantation (SLT) for two adult recipients to determine the feasibility of more widespread use of this procedure to increase the graft pool for adults.


The shortage of cadaver liver grafts for adults is increasing. Using livers from donors defined as optimal, the authors have been developing techniques for SLT for two adult recipients at their center.


From July 1993 to December 1999, 34 adults have undergone SLT with grafts from optimal donors prepared by ex situ split (n = 30) or in situ split (n = 4), and 88 adults received optimal whole-liver grafts that were not split. Four split-grafts were transplanted at other centers. The outcomes of transplantation with right and left split-liver grafts were compared with those of whole-liver transplants. The main end points were patient and graft survival at 1 and 2 years and the incidence and types of complications.


For whole-liver, right and left split-liver grafts, respectively, patient survival rates were 88%, 74%, and 88% at 1 year and 85%, 74%, and 64% at 2 years. Graft survival rates were 88%, 74%, and 75% at 1 year and 85%, 74%, and 43% at 2 years. Patient survival was adversely affected by graft steatosis and recipients inpatient status before transplantation. Graft survival was adversely affected by steatosis and a graft-to-recipient body weight ratio of less than 1%. Primary nonfunction occurred in three left split-liver grafts. The rates of arterial (6%) and biliary (22%) complications were similar to published data from conventional transplantation for an adult and a child. SLT for two adults increased the number of recipients by 62% compared with whole-liver transplantation and was logistically possible in 16 of the 104 (15%) optimal cadaver donors.


Split-liver transplantation for two adults is technically feasible. Outcomes and complication rates can be improved by rigid selection criteria for donors and recipients, particularly for the smaller left graft, and possibly also by in situ splitting in cadaver donors. Wider use will require changes in the procedures for graft allocation and coordination between centers experienced in the techniques.

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