Evaluating twenty-years of follow-up after orthotopic liver transplantation, best practice for donor-recipient matching: What can we learn from the past era?

World J Transplant. 2016 Sep 24;6(3):599-607. doi: 10.5500/wjt.v6.i3.599.


Aim: To characterize major determinants of 20-year survival after liver transplantation (LT).

Methods: This longitudinal single-institution study includes 313 consecutive patients who received a LT between 1988 and 1992. Pretransplant clinical characteristics and laboratory values were assessed and compared between 20-year survivors and non-survivors. Particular attention was paid to the Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (labMELD)-score and the Eurotransplant Donor Risk Index (ET-DRI) to unravel their impact on 20-year survival after LT.

Results: Twenty-year survivors were significantly younger (44 vs 50 years, P = 0.001), more likely to be female (49% vs 36%, P = 0.03) and less likely to be obese at the time of LT (19% vs 32%, P = 0.011). Mean labMELD-score (P = 0.156), rate of high-urgency LT (P = 0.210), cold-ischemia time (P = 0.994), rate of retransplantation (P = 0.12) and average donor age (28 vs 33 years, P = 0.099) were not statistically different. The mean estimated glomerular filtration rate was higher among survivors (P = 0.007). ET-DRI > 1.4 (P = 0.020) and donor age ≥ 30 years (P < 0.022) had significant influence on 20-year survival. The overall survival was not significantly impacted by labMELD-score categories (P = 0.263).

Conclusion: LT offers excellent long-term results in case of optimal donor and recipient conditions. However, mainly due to the current organ shortage, these ideal circumstances are rarely given; thus algorithms for donor-recipient matching need to be refined, in order to enable a maximum benefit for the recipients of high quality as well as marginal organs.

Keywords: Donor-recipient matching; Ideal recipient; Liver transplantation; Long-term outcome; Recipient characteristics.