Ischemic cholangiopathy following liver transplantation from donation after cardiac death donors

Liver Transpl. 2008 May;14(5):604-10. doi: 10.1002/lt.21361.


The use of donation after cardiac death (DCD) donor hepatic allografts is becoming more widespread; however, there have been published reports of increased graft failure from specific complications associated with this type of allograft. The complication of ischemic cholangiopathy (IC) has been reported to occur more frequently after the use of DCD hepatic allografts. We report the results of 52 liver transplants from DCD donors and the factors that influenced the development of IC. We conducted a retrospective review of all DCD and donation after brain death (DBD) donor liver recipients from September 2003 through December 2006 at a single institution. Survival and complication rates were compared between the 2 groups. The Cox proportional hazards model was then used to identify recipient and donor factors that predict the development of IC in the DCD group. There was no difference in 1-year patient or graft survival rates between the 2 groups. There was no incidence of primary nonfunction from the DCD allografts. Hepatic artery complications and anastomotic bile duct complications were comparable in the 2 groups. There was, however, an increased risk for the development of IC in the DCD group (13.7% versus 1%, P = 0.001). Donor weight >100 kg and total ischemia times > or =9 hours, in donors older than 50 years of age, predicted the development of IC in the DCD group. In conclusion, there is a higher incidence of IC in recipients receiving DCD donor livers; however, patient and graft outcomes with DCD donors remain comparable to those with DBD donors. Careful donor selection may improve utilization of these grafts.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Bile Duct Diseases / etiology*
  • Bile Duct Diseases / mortality
  • Body Weight
  • Brain Death*
  • Cold Ischemia / adverse effects*
  • Death*
  • Female
  • Graft Survival*
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Liver Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Tissue Donors*
  • Treatment Outcome