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Trop Gastroenterol. 2007 Apr-Jun;28(2):45-50.

Living donor liver transplantation.

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Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Medical University of Innsbruck, Austria, Anichstrasse 35, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria.


Initially living donor liver transplantation (LDLT) was almost exclusively performed in infants and children. Adult LDLT programmes were initiated several years later. In the west this programme was introduced in view of a critical shortage of deceased donors and a constant increase in waiting list mortality. At present, this procedure is accepted as a therapeutic option for patients with end-stage liver disease to make up for the shortage of donor organs from dead patients. In Asia, however, LDLT has become the predominant means of liver transplantation as donor organs from the diseased cannot be used for religious and ethical reasons. Although there have been significant improvements in surgical techniques and consequently in recipient outcome over recent years, the LDLT procedure is still associated with donor morbidity and even mortality. The overall reported donor mortality was 0.2% and donor morbidity ranged between 0% and 100%. Biliary complications and infections were the most commonly reported donor complications. Therefore, a thorough medical as well as psychological evaluation of the donor and recipient are necessary prior to this procedure. To date, LDLT comprises less than 5% of adult liver transplantations in Europe and in the United States. Recipient and graft survival are almost identical to those seen with liver transplantations from deceased donors (DD). Biliary and vascular complications are more often seen in the LDLT setting. So far, no studies have focussed on the impact of LDLT on waiting list mortality. There is international consensus that this procedure should be restricted to centres with large experience in deceased donor liver transplantations as well as in hepatobiliary surgery. Ethical issues, optimal utility and application of adult LDLT and optimal recipient and donor characteristics have yet to be defined.

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