Current practice regarding the use of fatty livers: A Trans-Atlantic survey

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Abstract

A strong association exists between the presence of steatosis in a donor liver for transplantation and the development of primary nonfunction in the recipient. Despite this, appraisal of the donor remains one of the least scientific aspects of the transplantation process, and many centers base their practice on subjective opinion, rather than objective data. We conducted this survey to illuminate controversial issues and highlight the variation of opinion and practice policies both between and within the United Kingdom and the United States. A simple, anonymous, one-page, 10-question survey with tick-box answers was sent to every practicing liver transplant surgeon in the United Kingdom. The same form was sent by E-mail to liver transplant surgeons in the United States with a current E-mail address listed in the American Society of Transplant Surgeons registry. In the United Kingdom, 16 of 19 surgeons polled responded (84.2%) and thus were considered representative. From the United States, there were 78 respondents from 52 centers, representing all 11 United Network for Organ Sharing regions. We found that current practice policies differ not only between nations, but also among centers in each country. US surgeons generally follow a more conservative approach, with greater emphasis on histological assessment. Dichotomous opinions exist on the significance of microvesicular steatosis in both countries. Most evident from this survey is that more research in the field is required to help answer these questions and allow for the safe use of all viable livers.

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