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Clin Transplant. 2013 Sep-Oct;27(5):732-41. doi: 10.1111/ctr.12211. Epub 2013 Sep 2.

Safe use of highly steatotic livers by utilizing a donor/recipient clinical algorithm.

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Division of Transplantation, Department of Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, USA.


The aim of this study was to assess the long-term safety and clinical outcomes associated with the utilization of highly steatotic donor livers utilizing a specific donor/recipient matching algorithm. This was a prospective, observational, single-center, 10-yr follow-up study. Highly steatotic livers were utilized according to a donor/recipient algorithm that guided the surgeon to use highly steatotic donor organs judiciously in low-risk recipients. This study initially compared fat assessment based on frozen-section Ehrlich's hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) to reperfusion biopsy fat assessment and demonstrated that H&E is an insensitive analysis to determine degree of steatosis. Patients were divided into three groups based on donor steatosis (group 1: <30% steatosis, group 2: 30-60% steatosis, group 3: >60% steatosis), and clinical outcomes were assessed. One hundred and sixteen patients were included in the analysis. Patients that received severely steatotic livers (>60% fat) showed increased reperfusion liver injury and delayed return of liver function in the early postoperative period, demonstrated by biochemical markers. However, there were no differences in primary non-function, postoperative complications, length of stay, and patient and graft survival. Using rigorous donor/recipient matching through a detailed algorithm, these data demonstrate that normal liver allograft outcomes are not superior to those in highly steatotic grafts.


graft survival; liver transplantation; organ allocation; patient survival; steatosis

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