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Abstract

The first adult-to-adult living donor liver transplant using the right hepatic lobe in the United States was performed only 2 years ago. Although initial reports were encouraging, continuous review of the results and appropriate modifications in patient management will be necessary to minimize donor risk and optimize recipient outcome. The results of 40 such transplantations were analyzed and are summarized. Recipients were listed for transplantation according to the usual criteria. Living donors were not considered for United Network for Organ Sharing status IIA patients after the initial 22 patients. Donor evaluation followed a rigid protocol. A graft-to-recipient body weight ratio of at least 0.8% was the minimum required throughout most of the study. The surgical procedures were similar, except the plane of transection was modified to better accommodate donor biliary anatomy, and uniform stenting of bile ducts was practiced after the first 10 transplants. Immunosuppression consisted of tacrolimus, mycophenolate mofetil, and a prednisone taper. The target tacrolimus level was decreased and mycophenolate was withdrawn more rapidly in the second half of the study because of the absence of acute cellular rejection. Donor morbidity has been limited to minor complications, and transplant recipient biliary complications decreased from 35% to 0%. Acute cellular rejection has not been observed despite less aggressive immunosuppression, and septic complications decreased dramatically. There have been no recipient deaths since these changes were instituted. Right lobectomy can be performed safely in the donor population. Recipient biliary complications can be minimized with stenting. Less aggressive immunosuppression is well tolerated and minimizes septic complications and attributable mortality.