Background: Right-lobe live donor liver transplantation (LDLT) is used by many liver transplant centres for treating adult patients with terminal liver disease, but its incremental benefit for the intended recipient over cadaveric liver graft transplantation has not been determined. The impact of LDLT as a proactive approach on the outcome of patients with acute liver failure was analysed.
Methods: From January 1999 to March 2001, right-lobe LDLT was offered proactively to 50 consecutive patients with acute liver failure and their families. The outcome of those who opted for right-lobe LDLT (n = 34) was compared with that of those who did not opt for LDLT (n = 16).
Results: In the group that opted for right-lobe LDLT, 16 patients eventually received a live donor right-lobe graft (14 patients survived) and three patients received a cadaveric liver graft that became available while the potential live donor was undergoing evaluation (all three patients survived). Among the group who did not opt for LDLT, only one patient received a cadaveric liver graft and survived. The former group had a higher overall survival rate (17 of 34 versus one of 16). With a proactive approach, the overall transplant rate was increased from four of 50 to 20 of 50. The morbidity rate among donors was low and none died.
Conclusion: Right-lobe LDLT improves the overall survival rate of patients with acute liver failure and should be considered as one of the treatment options for adult patients with acute liver failure.