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Asian J Surg. 2004 Apr;27(2):114-9.

Use of elderly donors (> 60 years) for liver transplantation.

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Centre for the Study of Liver Disease and Department of Surgery, The University of Hong Kong, Medical Centre, Queen Mary Hospital, 102 Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong SAR, China.



As the demand for liver transplantation has become greater than the availability of donor livers, the criteria for donor selection or rejection are more important than ever before. In view of an increasing number of patients on the waiting list, some centres are expanding their donor pool by relaxing the criteria, such as by using organs from elderly (> 60 years) brainstem-dead donors. In this study, we reviewed our experience of using elderly brain-dead donor livers, investigating the potential prognostic factors of the donor, and analysing the influence of donor age on early graft function and graft survival.


We retrospectively evaluated 106 cadaveric donor liver transplantations in 98 patients. Seven patients (6.6%, 7 vs 106) received livers from donors older than 60 years. Pre-transplantation characteristics of donors and the outcome of recipients were evaluated. Donor prognostic factors were analysed using Cox univariate analysis and confirmed by a multivariate forward stepwise Cox model. Early graft function was compared between recipients of grafts from donors older and younger than 60 years.


There were no primary non-functions or re-transplants in the group receiving elderly grafts. Early graft function was similar in patients with grafts from elderly and younger donors. Univariate analysis demonstrated that prognostic factors had no relationship with long-term recipient survival. The 3-month and 1-year cumulative graft survival rates were 100% and 82% in the elderly graft group and 84% and 83% in the younger graft group, respectively. Kaplan-Meier curves and the log-rank test indicated that there was no difference in graft and patient survival rates between the two groups.


Old age is not a contraindication for liver donation. Liver grafts from donors older than 60 years can be used safely.

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