According to transplant registries, grafts from elderly donors have lower survival rates. During 1999-2005, we evaluated the outcomes of 89 patients who received a liver from a donor aged > or = 60 years and managed with the low liver-damage strategy (LLDS), based on the preoperative donor liver biopsy and the shortest possible ischemia time (group D > or = 60-LLDS). Group D > or = 60-LLDS was compared with 198 matched recipients, whose grafts were not managed with this strategy (89 donors < 60 years, group D < 60-no-LLDS and 89 donors aged > or =60 years, group D > or = 60-no-LLDS). In the donors proposed from the age group of > or =60 years, the number of donors rejected decreased during the study period and the LLDS was found to be responsible for this in a significant manner (47% vs. 60%, respectively P < 0.01). Among the recipients transplanted, the clinical features (age, gender, viral infection, child and model for end-stage liver disease score) were comparable among groups, but group D > or = 60-LLDS had a lower mean ischemia time: 415 +/- 106 min vs. 465 +/- 111 (D < 60-no-LLDS), P < 0.05 and vs. 476 +/- 94 (D > or = 60-no-LLDS), P < 0.05. After a median follow-up of 3 years, the 1- and 3-year graft survival rates of group D > or = 60-LLDS (84% and 76%) were comparable with group D < 60-no-LLDS (89% and 76%) and were significantly higher than group D > or = 60-no-LLDS (71% and 54%), P < 0.005. In conclusion, the LLDS optimized the use of livers from elderly donors.