Donation after cardiac death (DCD) liver allografts have been associated with increased morbidity from primary nonfunction, biliary complications, early allograft failure, cost, and mortality. Early allograft dysfunction (EAD) after liver transplantation has been found to be associated with inferior patient and graft survival. In a cohort of 205 consecutive liver-only transplant patients with allografts from DCD donors at a single center, the incidence of EAD was found to be 39.5%. The patient survival rates for those with no EAD and those with EAD at 1, 3, and 5 years were 97% and 89%, 79% and 79%, and 61% and 54%, respectively (P = 0.009). Allograft survival rates for recipients with no EAD and those with EAD at 1, 3, and 5 years were 90% and 75%, 72% and 64%, and 53% and 43%, respectively (P = 0.003). A multivariate analysis demonstrated a significant association between the development of EAD and the cold ischemia time [odds ratio (OR) = 1.26, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.01-1.56, P = 0.037] and hepatocellular cancer as a secondary diagnosis in recipients (OR = 2.26, 95% CI = 1.11-4.58, P = 0.025). There was no correlation between EAD and the development of ischemic cholangiopathy. In conclusion, EAD results in inferior patient and graft survival in recipients of DCD liver allografts. Understanding the events that cause EAD and developing preventive or early therapeutic approaches should be the focus of future investigations.
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