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J Hepatol. 2012 Feb;56(2):474-85. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2011.07.004. Epub 2011 Jul 23.

Liver transplantation using Donation after Cardiac Death donors.

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Catholic University Leuven, Department of Abdominal Transplant Surgery, University Hospitals Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.


The success of solid organ transplantation has brought about burgeoning waiting lists with insufficient donation rates and substantial waiting list mortality. All countries have strived to expand donor numbers beyond the standard Donation after Brain Death (DBD). This has lead to the utilization of Donation after Cardiac Death (DCD) donors, also frequently referred to as Non-Heart Beating Donors (NHBD). Organs from these donors inevitably sustain warm ischaemic damage which varies in its extent and affects early graft function as well as graft survival. As a consequence, 'non-vital' organs such as renal transplants have increased rapidly from DCD donors but more 'vital' organ transplants such as the liver have lagged behind. However, an increasing proportion of liver transplants are now derived from DCD donors. This article covers this expansion, current results, pitfalls, and steps taken to minimize complications and to improve outcome, and future developments that are likely to occur.

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