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Gastroenterology. 2012 Nov;143(5):1261-5. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2012.07.105. Epub 2012 Jul 27.

An examination of liver offers to candidates on the liver transplant wait-list.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94143, USA.



We aimed to characterize offers of organs to candidates awaiting liver transplantation (LT).


We analyzed data from the United Network for Organ Sharing registry on all US LT candidates with nonfulminant disease who were offered livers from February 1, 2005, to January 31, 2010, and ultimately received transplants. We excluded candidates with a final Model for End-stage Liver Disease score of less than 15. Livers were classified as high quality if they were from donors 18-50 years of age who were ≥ 170 cm tall, of non-black race, suffered brain death secondary to trauma, hepatitis C antibody-negative, not categorized as high risk by the Centers for Disease Control, and locally or regionally located.


Of 33,389 candidates for LT, 20% died or were removed from the list and 64% received LT; the median (interquartile range) number of liver offers for all candidates was 5 (range, 2-12). Of those who died or were removed from the list, 84% received 1 or more liver offers. Overall, 55% of those who died or were removed from the list, and 57% of those who received LT, received 1 or more offers of a high-quality liver when they had Model for End-stage Liver Disease scores of 15 or greater (P = .005). However, the proportion of last liver offers of high quality to patients who underwent LT was twice that of patients who died or were removed from the list (28% vs 14%; P < .001). Most liver offers (68%) were refused for reasons related to donor quality.


Most candidates for LT who died or were removed from the list received 1 or more offers of a liver beforehand, and 55% received 1 or more offers of a high-quality liver. These findings indicate that a substantial proportion of wait-list mortality results in part from declined livers, rather than lack of opportunity, for transplantation. Understanding the real-time factors involved in the complex decision to accept a liver offer is vital to reducing wait-list mortality for LT candidates.

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