Adult-to-adult live-donor liver transplantation: the current status

J Hepatobiliary Pancreat Surg. 2006;13(2):110-6. doi: 10.1007/s00534-005-1016-x.


Adult-to-adult live-donor liver transplantation (ALDLT) has emerged successfully to partially relieve the refractory shortage of deceased donor grafts caused by the increasing demands of patients with endstage liver diseases. Following the first successful live-donor liver transplantation (LDLT) for a child with biliary atresia in 1989, further extension of the technique, using left-lobe liver grafts for LDLT for large adolescents and adults, has resulted in satisfactory graft and patient survival outcomes. However, small-for-size syndrome may occur in some patients with large body size, and in those with acute-on-chronic liver failure or severe portal hypertension. To overcome the problem of graft-to-body-size mismatch, ALDLT, using a right-lobe liver graft was developed. Although routine inclusion of the middle hepatic vein (MHV) in the right-lobe liver graft is still controversial, the importance of providing good venous drainage for the right anterior sector to ensure better early graft function has gained wide recognition. Preservation of the MHV in the donor is intuitively considered important in reducing the donor risk. However, there are scarce data supporting the contention that postoperative complication is related to the absence of the MHV in the left-liver remnant. Duct-to-duct biliary reconstruction has potential advantages over hepaticojejunostomy, and has become the preferred technique in ALDLT. However, biliary complications, especially biliary strictures on long-term follow-up, occur in about 30% of the recipients. The potential beneficial effect of internal or external biliary drainage in reducing the biliary complication rate after duct-to-duct biliary reconstruction in ALDLT also remains controversial. Dual-liver grafts and right-posterior sector grafts have been used in ALDLT, and are reported to result in satisfactory survival outcomes at selected transplant centers. There is no strong evidence supporting the postulate that patients with hepatitis C infection have an inferior survival outcome after ALDLT when compared with recipients of a deceased-donor liver transplant. ALDLT has contributed to satisfactory survival outcomes in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). It allows early surgery for the patients and eliminates the uncertainty of prolonged waiting for a deceased-donor liver graft, and the risks of dropout related to disease progression. The exact selection criteria of patients with HCC for ALDLT have yet to be defined.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Liver Diseases / surgery*
  • Liver Transplantation / methods*
  • Living Donors*
  • Patient Selection