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Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2004 Jul;19 Suppl 4:iv16-21.

Living-donor liver transplantation--European experiences.

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Department of General, Visceral and Transplantation Surgery, Charité, Virchow Clinic, Humboldt University of Berlin, Augustenbuger Platz 1, 13353 Berlin, Germany.


To overcome the problem of organ shortage in recent years, liver transplantation from a living donor has been established. From a surgical standpoint, split liver transplantation and living-donor liver transplantation (LRLTx) are very complex surgical procedures requiring meticulous surgical techniques. LRLTx was first developed and performed in Asia and the USA. In the beginning of the 1990s, LRLTx was introduced in Europe. In Europe, 46 of 118 registered transplant centres had already performed LRLTx in December 2001. Up to this time point, more than 800 LRLTx were performed since 1991. Medical discussions in the field of LRLTx include the need for high quality procedures, simplifying donor evaluation, optimizing surgical techniques and immunosuppression, all of which are current problems. The perioperative morbidity of the donor including all minor complications is stated to be 10-25%. Biliary complications of 5-10% are the major portion. The results of LRLTx for paediatric and adult recipients are comparable. The perioperative complication rate is slightly higher in LRLTx than after cadaver transplantation. This can be explained by the complexity of the surgical intervention with technical complications and the limited experience so far. Other reasons that can be ascertained are extended indications with higher incidence of tumour recurrence and infectious complications in these recipients. In recent years, LRLTx has emerged as a clinically safe alternative to cadaver transplantation in many cases and has further extended the donor pool. LRLTx has been shown to be a good option for patients with liver disease in which a long waiting time is not permitted.

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