Background: The shortage of suitable donors for transplantation is a worldwide problem. The use of cadaveric donors with bacterial meningitis may be associated with an increased risk of sepsis. We report the results of orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) from 33 such donors between 1989 and 1999.
Methods: The hospital records of recipients from cadaveric donors with meningitis (study group) were retrospectively reviewed and compared with matched recipients from cadaveric donors dying from causes other than meningitis (recipient-matched control group).
Results: A total of 34 recipients underwent 21 whole, 10 reduced, and 3 split liver transplants from 33 cadaveric donor livers with bacterial meningitis. The donor meningitis pathogens were Neisseria meningitidis (n=14), Streptococcus pneumoniae (n=4), Haemophilus influenzae (n=1), Streptococcus species (n=2), and unknown (n=12). Twenty-seven patients had an elective OLT and seven patients had an emergency OLT. Adequate antimicrobial therapy before organ procurement and after transplant was administrated. The mean posttransplant follow-up was 37 months (range: 1 day-106 months). There was no difference in recipient and graft survival rates between the study and the recipient-matched groups. In the study group, there were no infectious complications caused by the meningeal pathogens. Overall patient survival rates were 79%, 76%, 72%, and 72% at 1, 6, 12, and 60 months, respectively. Graft survival was 77%, 70%, 65%, and 65% at 1, 6, 12, and 60 months, respectively. The survival rate in elective cases was significantly better than emergency cases (P<0.05).
Conclusion: Liver transplantation from donors with bacterial meningitis is a safe procedure provided both donors and recipients receive adequate antimicrobial therapy.