Single Center Experience with Incidence, Impact and Predictors of Biliary Complications in Donation After Circulatory Death Liver Transplantation

Prog Transplant. 2022 Sep;32(3):252-260. doi: 10.1177/15269248221107039. Epub 2022 Jun 14.


Introduction: Utilizing allografts from donors after cardiac death (DCD) has improved organ availability, and DCD livers comprise a growing proportion of transplantations. However, it has been suggested that DCD transplantations have worse outcomes. Research Questions: We aimed to characterize outcomes in a large cohort of DCD transplantations, identify trends in outcomes over time, and identify factors associated with the development of biliary complications. Design: We conducted an observational retrospective cohort study of patients receiving DCD liver allografts within a large academic teaching hospital with a high transplantation volume. Consecutive patients who underwent Type III DCD liver transplantation from 2006-2016 were included in our cohort. Re-transplantations and multi-organ transplant recipients were excluded. Results: Ninety-six type III DCD transplantations occurred between 2006-2016. We report a 1one-year patient survival of 90.6% (87) and a 5five-year patient survival of 69.8% (67). Twenty-nine (30.2%) patients experienced any biliary complication in the first year following discharge, with 17 (17.7%) experiencing ischemic cholangiopathy. Five-year patient (P = 0.04) and graft (P = 0.005) survival improved over time. Post-operative biliary complications experienced during index admission and prior to discharge were found to be associated with the development of biliary complications (P = 0.005) and ischemic cholangiopathy (P = 0.01) following discharge. Conclusion: Our data suggested that outcomes using DCD allografts have improved, however biliary complications remain a significant issue in DCD transplantation. Patients who experienced post-operative biliary complications during index admission may require more frequent screening to allow the initiation of earlier treatment for biliary complications.

Keywords: biliary complications; clinical outcomes; descriptive comparative; donor after circulatory death; ischemic cholangiopathy; quantitative methods; rejection outcomes; research.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Death
  • Graft Survival
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Liver Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tissue Donors
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement*