Adult-to-adult living donor liver transplantation using right-lobe grafts: Results and lessons learned from a single-center experience



Living donor liver transplantation (LDLT) for adults is now a practical alternative to cadaveric liver transplantation. Use of right-lobe grafts has become the preferred donor procedure. Because of the complexity of this operation, a learning curve is to be expected. We report the outcome of our first 41 LDLTs at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center (Denver, CO). We also discuss the lessons learned and the resultant modifications in the procedure that evolved during our series. Patient records were retrospectively reviewed between August 1997 and February 2001 for the following end points: recipient survival, graft survival, and donor and recipient complications. Thirty-eight of 41 living donor liver transplant recipients (93%) are alive and well postoperatively with a mean follow-up of 9.6 months. Four patients required retransplantation secondary to technical problems (9.8%); all 4 patients were in our initial 11 cases. Modification of the donor liver plane of transection resulted in venous outflow improvement. Also, biliary management was modified during the series. Donor complications are listed; all 41 donors have returned to normal pretransplantation activity. Our results indicate that LDLT can be performed safely with excellent donor and recipient outcomes. Dissemination of our experience can help shorten the learning curve for other institutions.