Liver transplantation in the critically ill: Donation after cardiac death compared to donation after brain death grafts

C. Burcin Taner, Ilynn G. Bulatao, Lisa C. Arasi, Dana K. Perry, Darrin L. Willingham, Lena Sibulesky, Barry G. Rosser, Juan M. Canabal, Justin H. Nguyen, David J. Kramer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Patients with end stage liver disease may become critically ill prior to LT requiring admission to the intensive care unit (ICU). The high acuity patients may be thought too ill to transplant; however, often LT is the only therapeutic option. Choosing the correct liver allograft for these patients is often difficult and it is imperative that the allograft work immediately. Donation after cardiac death (DCD) donors provide an important source of livers, however, DCD graft allocation remains a controversial topic, in critically ill patients. Between January 2003-December 2008, 1215 LTs were performed: 85 patients at the time of LT were in the ICU. Twelve patients received DCD grafts and 73 received donation after brain dead (DBD) grafts. After retransplant cases and multiorgan transplants were excluded, 8 recipients of DCD grafts and 42 recipients of DBD grafts were included in this study. Post-transplant outcomes of DCD and DBD liver grafts were compared. While there were differences in graft and survival between DCD and DBD groups at 4 month and 1 year time points, the differences did not reach statistical significance. The graft and patient survival rates were similar among the groups at 3-year time point. There is need for other large liver transplant programs to report their outcomes using liver grafts from DCD and DBD donors. We believe that the experience of the surgical, medical and critical care team is important for successfully using DCD grafts for critically ill patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)679-685
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of hepatology
Volume11
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 2012

Keywords

  • Critical care
  • End-stage liver disease
  • Graft survival
  • Patient survival
  • Post-operative complications

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology

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