Risk Avoidance and Liver Transplantation: A Single-center Experience in a National Network

Ann Surg. 2016 Nov;264(5):778-786. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0000000000001887.


Objectives: To evaluate the risk avoidance policy at liver transplant centers.

Background: Transplant center improvements have extended the indications for the sickest patients and the use of extended criteria donors (ECD). This may result in lower survival, perhaps paradoxically discouraging transplant centers from these procedures. We evaluated the outcome of recipients or donors refused by other transplant centers and transplanted by our transplant unit without risk avoidance policy.

Methods: Between 2007 and 2015, 616 patients underwent liver transplantation at our Unit; 142 patients (23%) had been rejected by other Italian centers, because of recipient selection (70 patients, 11%) or because of donor selection (78 patients, 12%), group A. Recipient and donor features were analyzed and compared with 474 patients transplanted in the same period, group B.

Results: Recipients were mainly rejected for comorbidity (19%), portal vein thrombosis (16%), previous surgery (9%), obesity (9%), and hepatocellular carcinoma (6%). Donors were rejected for HBcAb+ (33%), HCV+ (18%), liver biopsy (9%), HBsAg+ (6%), neoplastic (6%), or infective risk (5%).Most recipient and donor features were comparable between groups A and B.The 1- and 3-year overall graft and patient survival rates were similar in groups A and B and were comparable with national data.

Conclusions: Recipients and donor grafts were rejected for reasons not accepted by scientific literature. They did not differ from control group patients and their postoperative outcome was comparable. These results highlight the discrepancy among transplant centers and the relevance of risk avoidance in LT policy.

MeSH terms

  • Donor Selection*
  • Female
  • Graft Survival
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Liver Diseases / complications
  • Liver Diseases / mortality
  • Liver Diseases / surgery*
  • Liver Transplantation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Selection*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome