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Transplantation. 1992 Feb;53(2):400-6.

The adverse impact on liver transplantation of using positive cytotoxic crossmatch donors.

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Department of Surgery, Pittsburgh Transplant Institute, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pennsylvania.


Because of the liver graft's ability to resist cytotoxic antibody-mediated rejection, it has become dogma that the conventional transplant crossmatch used to avoid hyperacute rejection of other organs is irrelevant to the liver. We examined this hypothesis in a consecutive series of adult primary liver recipients treated with FK506 and low-dose steroids. Twenty-five of 231 (10.8%) patients received a liver from a cytotoxic-positive crossmatch donor (more than 50% of donor T lymphocytes were killed by dithiothreitol-pretreated recipient serum). The outcome was compared with that of 50 negative crossmatch patients who had their transplantations just before and after the crossmatch positive cases. The one-year graft and patient survivals were 56% and 68%, for positive and 82% and 86% for negative crossmatch patients (P = 0.004, P = 0.03, respectively). The difference between patient and first graft survival was accounted for by retransplantation, which was 4 times more frequent in the positive-crossmatch cases. Histologically, failed allografts obtained at the time of retransplantation revealed a spectrum of pathologic findings related to vascular injury. This study showed a higher difficulty of intraoperative blood product management, a degraded prognosis, and a poorer average quality of ultimate graft function when liver transplantation was performed against positive cytotoxic crossmatches. In such patients for whom crossmatch-negative donors may never be found because of the broad extent and intensity of sensitization, special therapeutic strategies perioperatively must be evolved if results are to improve.

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