Survival Benefit of Split-Liver Transplantation for Pediatric and Adult Candidates

Liver Transpl. 2022 Jun;28(6):969-982. doi: 10.1002/lt.26393. Epub 2022 Feb 3.


Patient and graft survival are similar following whole-liver transplantations (WLTs) versus split-liver transplantations (SLTs) among pediatric and adult recipients, yet SLTs are rarely used. We sought to determine the survival benefit associated with accepting a splittable graft offer for SLT versus declining and waiting for a subsequent offer using 2010 to 2018 Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR) data on 928 pediatric and 1814 adult liver transplantation candidates who were ever offered a splittable graft. We compared eventual mortality, regardless of subsequent transplants, between those patients who accepted versus declined a split liver offer with adjustments for Pediatric End-Stage Liver Disease/Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) scores, diagnosis, and weight among pediatric candidates and matching for MELD score, height, and offer among adult candidates. Among pediatric candidates ≤7 kg, split liver offer acceptance versus decline was associated with a 63% reduction in mortality (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 0.17 0.370.80 [P = 0.01]; 93.1% versus 84.0% 1-year survival after decision). Within 1 year of decline for those ≤7 kg, 6.4% died and 31.1% received a WLT. Among pediatric candidates >7 kg, there was no significant difference associated with acceptance of a split liver offer (aHR, 0.63 1.071.82 [P = 0.81]; 91.7% versus 94.4% 1-year survival after decision). Within 1 year of decline for those >7 kg, 1.8% died and 45.8% received a WLT. Among adult candidates, split liver offer acceptance was associated with a 43% reduction in mortality (aHR, 0.39 0.570.83 [P = 0.005]; 92.2% versus 84.4% 1-year survival after decision). Within 1 year of decline for adult candidates, 7.9% died and 39.3% received a WLT. Accepting split liver offers for SLT could significantly improve survival for small children and adults on the waiting list.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • End Stage Liver Disease* / diagnosis
  • End Stage Liver Disease* / surgery
  • Graft Survival
  • Humans
  • Liver Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Waiting Lists