Background: At our center, living donor liver transplantation (LDLT) is the main workload supported by a strong, mature service. Deceased donor liver transplantation (DDLT) is performed but in small volume. This study aimed to review the results of a low-volume DDLT service alongside a strong LDLT service.
Methods: Consecutive DDLTs for adults performed from 1991 to 2009 were reviewed. The 1st to the 50th DDLTs were categorized as Era I cases, and the rest were Era II cases. The outcomes of the DDLTs were analyzed and compared with those achieved overseas.
Results: Eras I and II consisted of 59 and 183 DDLTs, respectively. All donors were brain-dead and heart-beating with a median age of 49 years (range 7-76 years). Among the 242 DDLTS, 30.2 % were on a high-urgency basis and 15.3 % were for hepatocellular carcinoma. The patients had a median model for end-stage liver disease score of 21 (range 6-40), and most (67.8 %) were hepatitis B virus carriers. Before transplantation, 16.1 % of the patients were in the intensive care unit and 30.2 % were in the hospital. The hospital mortality rate dropped from 13.6 % (8/59) during Era I to 3.8 % (7/183) during Era II (p = 0.012). For Era I, the 1-, 3-, and 5-year survival rates were 84.7, 79.7, and 76.3 %, respectively, which improved to 92.9, 89.0 and 87.2 % for Era II (p = 0.026).
Conclusions: The recipient survival of this series compares favorably with contemporary series. It is shown that a low-volume DDLT service alongside a strong LDLT service can have excellent results.