Objective: Splitting of the liver at the line of Cantlie of otherwise healthy people is accepted worldwide as a reasonable procedure for the donors in adult living donor liver transplantation. A similar operation is still considered as experimental if performed in the deceased donor liver. The aim of this study is to evaluate the technical evolution and the results of this variant splitting technique.
Patients and methods: From January 1999 to August 2004, a total of 35 transplants of hemilivers from deceased donors (segments V-VIII: n = 16 and segments (I)II-IV: n = 19) were performed in our center. Seven splits were performed in situ and 12 ex situ. Splitting of the vena cava was applied in 18 splits and splitting of the middle hepatic vein in 8. Seven adults and 12 adolescents received the left hemiliver with a mean age of 12 years (range, 3-64 years), of whom 21% were UNOS status 1. Recipients of right hemilivers were exclusively adults with a mean age of 48 years (range, 31-65 years), none of them were high urgent. The outcome of these 35 recipients of hemilivers was prospectively evaluated.
Results: Mean deceased donor age was 27 years (range, 12-57 years), the donor's body weight ranged between 55 kg and 100 kg. The mean weight of the right and left hemilivers was 1135 g (range, 745-1432 g) and 602 g (range, 289-1100 g), respectively. The mean graft recipient weight ratio in left and right hemiliver group was 1.46% (range, 0.88%-3.54%) and 1.58% (range, 1.15%-1.99%), respectively. Median follow-up was 27.4 months (range, 1-68.3 months). Four patients died (actual patient survival FR group: 87.5% versus FL group: 89.5%), 3 due to septic MOF and 1 due to graft versus host disease. In each of the 2 groups, 2 recipients had to undergo retransplantation, which resulted in an actual right and left hemiliver survival rate of 75% and 84%, respectively. The causes for retransplantation were primary nonfunction in 2 left hemilivers, chronic graft dysfunction in 1 right hemiliver, and recurrence of the primary disease in 1 recipient of a right hemiliver. Primary poor function was observed in 1 recipient of a right hemiliver. Early and late biliary complications occurred in both right and left hemiliver groups at the rate of 37.5% (n = 6) and 21% (n = 4), respectively. Arterial, portal, and venous complications were not observed in either group.
Conclusion: The technical development of splitting along Cantlie's line is almost complete with the last challenge being the reduction of biliary complications. The key to success is the choice of adequate deceased donors and recipients. Full-right full-left splitting is safely possible and should be considered as a reasonable instrument to alleviate mortality on the adult waiting list and to reduce the need for adult and adolescent living donation.