The aim of this study was to compare outcomes between living donor liver transplant (LDLT) and deceased donor liver transplant (DDLT) at a single center to demonstrate the advantages of LDLT and provide justification for the increased utilization and application of this procedure.
LDLT comprises a very small percentage of all liver transplants performed in the United States, this despite its advantages and a shortage of the availability of deceased donor organs.
A retrospective review of all adult LDLT (n = 245) and DDLT (n = 592) performed at a single center over 10 years (2009–2019), comparing survival outcomes by Kaplan-Meier analysis and comparing other measures of outcome such as recovery times, complications, costs, and resource utilization.
Patient survival outcomes were superior in LDLT recipients (3-year 86% vs 80%, P = 0.03). Other outcomes demonstrated shorter length of hospital stay (11 vs 13 days, P = 0.03), less likelihood of intraoperative blood transfusion (52% vs 78%, P < 0.01), and less likelihood of need for posttransplant dialysis (1.6% vs 7.4%, P < 0.01). Early reoperation and biliary/vascular complication rates were similar. Hospital costs related to the transplant were 29.5% lower for LDLT. Complications in living donors were acceptable with no early or late deaths, 3-month reoperation rate of 3.1%, and overall complication rate of 19.5%. Given its advantages, we have expanded LDLT—in 2018, LDLT comprised 53.6% of our transplants (national average 4.8%), and our transplant rate increased from 44.8 (rate per 100-person years) in 2015 to 87.5 in 2018.
LDLT offers advantages over DDLT including superior outcomes and less resource utilization. The time has come to change the paradigm of how LDLT is utilized in this country.
*Department of Surgery, Division of Transplantation, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
†Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA.
The authors report no conflicts of interest.