Survival advantage for patients accepting the offer of a circulatory death liver transplant.


University Department of Surgery, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Hill Road, Cambridge CB2 0QQ, United Kingdom. Electronic address: [Email]


OBJECTIVE : Donation after circulatory death (DCD) in the UK has tripled in the last decade. However, outcomes following DCD liver transplantation are worse than for donation after brainstem death (DBD) liver transplants. This study examines whether a recipient should accept a "poorer quality" DCD organ or wait longer for a "better" DBD organ.
METHODS : Data were collected on 5,825 patients who were registered on the elective waiting list for a first adult liver-only transplant and 3,949 patients who received a liver-only transplant in the UK between 1 January 2008 and 31 December 2015. Survival following deceased donor liver transplantation performed between 2008 and 2015 was compared by Cox regression modelling to assess the impact on patient survival of accepting a DCD liver compared to deferring for a potential DBD transplant.
RESULTS : A total of 953 (23%) of the 3,949 liver transplantations performed utilised DCD donors. Five-year post-transplant survival was worse following DCD than DBD transplantation (69.1% [DCD] vs. 78.3% [DBD]; p <0.0001: adjusted hazard ratio [HR] 1.65; 95% CI 1.40-1.94). Of the 5,798 patients registered on the transplant list, 1,325 (23%) died or were removed from the list without receiving a transplant. Patients who received DCD livers had a lower risk-adjusted hazard of death than those who remained on the waiting list for a potential DBD organ (adjusted HR 0.55; 95% CI 0.47-0.65). The greatest survival benefit was in those with the most advanced liver disease (adjusted HR 0.19; 95% CI 0.07-0.50).
CONCLUSIONS : Although DCD liver transplantation leads to worse transplant outcomes than DBD transplantation, the individual's survival is enhanced by accepting a DCD offer, particularly for patients with more severe liver disease. DCD liver transplantation improves overall survival for UK listed patients and should be encouraged.
UNASSIGNED : This study looks at patients who require a liver transplant to save their lives; this liver can be donated by a person who has died either after their heart has stopped (donation after cardiac death [DCD]) or after the brain has been injured and can no longer support life (donation after brainstem death [DBD]). We know that livers donated after brainstem death function better than those after cardiac death, but there are not enough of these livers for everyone, so we wished to help patients decide whether it was better for them to accept an early offer of a DCD liver than waiting longer to receive a "better" liver from a DBD donor. We found that patients were more likely to survive if they accepted the offer of a liver transplant as soon as possible (DCD or DBD), especially if their liver disease was very severe.


Donation after brainstem death,Donation after circulatory death,Liver failure,Liver transplantation,Waiting list survival,