Attitudes and barriers to the use of donation after cardiac death livers: Comparison of a United States transplant center survey to the united network for organ sharing data

Linda Sher, Cristiano Quintini, Sameh Adel Fayek, Peter Abt, Mary Lo, Pui Yuk, Lingyun Ji, Susan Groshen, Jamie Case, Christopher Lee Marsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


Transplantation of liver grafts from donation after cardiac death (DCD) is limited. To identify barriers of DCD liver utilization, all active US liver transplant centers (n = 138) were surveyed, and the responses were compared with the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) data. In total, 74 (54%) centers responded, and diversity in attitudes was observed, with many not using organ and/or recipient prognostic variables defined in prior studies and UNOS data analysis. Most centers (74%) believed lack of a system allowing a timely retransplant is a barrier to utilization. UNOS data demonstrated worse 1- and 5-year patient survival (PS) and graft survival (GS) in DCD (PS, 86% and 64%; GS, 82% and 59%, respectively) versus donation after brain death (DBD) recipients (PS, 90% and 71%; GS, 88% and 69%, respectively). Donor alanine aminotransferase (ALT), recipient Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD), and cold ischemia time (CIT) significantly impacted DCD outcomes to a greater extent than DBD outcomes. At 3 years, relisting and retransplant rates were 7.9% and 4.6% higher in DCD recipients. To optimize outcome, our data support the use of DCD liver grafts with CIT <6-8 hours in patients with MELD ≤ 20. In conclusion, standardization of donor and recipient criteria, defining the impact of ischemic cholangiopathy, addressing donor hospital policies, and developing a strategy for timely retransplant may help to expand the use of these organs. Liver Transplantation 23 1372–1383 2017 AASLD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1372-1383
Number of pages12
JournalLiver Transplantation
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2017


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Hepatology
  • Transplantation

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