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Ann Surg. 2008 Oct;248(4):599-607. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0b013e31818a080e.

Utilization, outcomes, and retransplantation of liver allografts from donation after cardiac death: implications for further expansion of the deceased-donor pool.

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  • 1New York Organ Donor Network, New York, NY, USA.



Utilization, outcomes, and retransplantation (ReTx) of liver allografts obtained by donation after cardiac death (DCD) are examined to identify mechanisms to optimize donation.


DCD for liver transplantation (LTX) has immediate potential to expand the donor pool but application is limited.


Retrospective analysis of the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR) from January 2002 to April 2007 identified 855 DCD and 21,089 donation after brain death (DBD) adult, initial, whole-organ, liver-only LTX. Donor, recipient, and transplant characteristics were compared. Outcome measures were listing for ReTx within 1 year and graft survival determined as death or ReTx.


DCD donors were younger (P < 0.001), with fewer African American and non-white race (P < 0.001), and fewer deaths secondary to stroke (P < 0.001). DCD recipients were older (P < 0.001), with lower Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) scores (P < 0.001), and less likely in intensive care (P = 0.02) or high-urgency status (P < 0.001). DCD allografts were more frequently imported from another allocation region (12% vs. 7%; P < 0.001). Cox regression analysis of time to DCD graft failure demonstrates higher DCD graft failure within the first 180 days (20.5% DCD vs. 11.5% DBD; P < 0.001) with convergence thereafter. DCD listing for ReTx and graft failure progressed continuously over 180 days versus 20 days in DBD. At ReTx, DCD recipients waited longer and received higher risk allografts (P = 0.039) more often from another region. More DCD recipients remain waiting for ReTx with fewer removed for death, clinical deterioration, or improvement.


DCD utilization is impeded by early outcomes and a temporally different failure pattern that limits access to ReTx. Allocation policy that recognizes these limitations and increases access to ReTx is necessary for expansion of this donor population.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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