Emergency adult-to-adult living-donor liver transplantation for acute liver failure in a hepatitis B virus endemic area


  • Potential conflict of interest: Nothing to report.


The outcomes of patients with acute liver failure (ALF) vary greatly according to etiology. Emergency adult-to-adult living-donor liver transplantation (adult LDLT) would help address the shortage of available organs for patients with ALF, especially in hepatitis B virus (HBV)-endemic areas. We analyzed a prospective database of 110 consecutive adult patients with ALF. ALF was defined as sudden development of severe coagulopathy and encephalopathy within 26 weeks of onset of symptoms. In about 90% of patients, ALF was caused by etiologies that usually result in poor outcomes, including HBV infection (37%). Three cases (3%) were associated with acetaminophen overdose. Of the 99 patients listed for emergency liver transplantation, four (4%) underwent deceased-donor liver transplantation (DDLT), and 40 (40%) underwent adult LDLT. The 1-year survival rate of adult LDLT patients was 85%. Of the 55 patients listed but not transplanted, 45 (82%) died within a median of 7 days (range, 1-90 days). Multivariate analysis showed that adult LDLT (hazard ratio [HR] 0.10, P < 0.01) and DDLT (HR 0.12, P = 0.04) were associated with decreased mortality, whereas older age (HR 1.03, P = 0.01) and higher Model for End-stage Liver Disease (MELD) (HR 1.03, P = 0.04) was associated with increased mortality of patients. There was no living donor mortality. Eight (17.8%) and three (6.7%) living donors experienced grade 1 and 2 complications, respectively. Conclusion: Emergency adult LDLT can be performed expeditiously and safely for patients with ALF, and greatly improves the survival rate. As the window during which transplantation is possible is limited, emergency adult LDLT should be considered one of the first-line treatment options in patients with ALF, especially in regions in which ALFs are caused by etiologies associated with poor outcome and the supply of organs is severely limited. (HEPATOLOGY 2010.)