Split-liver transplantation in the United States: outcomes of a national survey

Ann Surg. 2004 Feb;239(2):172-81. doi: 10.1097/01.sla.0000109150.89438.bd.


Objective: Assess application and outcomes of split-liver transplantation within the United States.

Summary background data: While a theoretically attractive mechanism to increase cadaver organ supply, split-liver transplantation has been infrequently applied. The American Society of Transplant Surgeons, in an attempt to gather preliminary data on split-liver transplantation, performed a data protected survey of transplant centers participating in the U.S. Scientific Registry for Transplant Recipients.

Methods: Between April 2000 and May 2001, 89 surgical teams were surveyed. Elicited data included graft type, recipient status, procurement method, graft sharing, graft outcomes, recipient outcomes, and experience with cadaver, whole-organ transplantation.

Results: Eighty-three surgical teams reported data on 207 left lateral segment, 152 right trisegment, 15 left lobe, and 13 right lobe grafts. The split procedure was performed ex vivo in 54% and in situ in 46% of grafts. Complications were frequent in all graft types with biliary and vascular complications equally distributed between grafts procured by either technique. Primary nonfunction, graft failure, and recipient death correlated with transplant status.

Conclusions: Split-liver transplantation has been principally applied to adult-child pairs with at least one recipient critically ill. Biliary and vascular complications account for the majority of morbidity in grafts procured by either split technique with graft failure and recipient death observed more frequently in critically ill recipients. Enhanced utilization and improved results may be possible through improved information sharing and modification of allocation criteria.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cadaver
  • Child
  • Data Collection
  • Humans
  • Liver Transplantation / adverse effects
  • Liver Transplantation / methods
  • Liver Transplantation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Living Donors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States