Venous congestion of segments V and VIII is observed frequently in living-donor right lobe liver transplants without middle hepatic vein (MHV) drainage, and can be a cause of graft dysfunction and failure. Inclusion of the MHV with the graft is controversial, however, because of the perceived potential for increased donor morbidity.
We compared the outcome of living liver donors in whom the MHV was either left intact in the donor (group 1; n = 28) or was removed with the graft (group 2; n = 28). All prospective donors completed an extensive multidisciplinary evaluation to determine suitability for surgery and to ensure that the MHV could be removed safely without compromising venous outflow from the remaining liver. Patient demographics including age, weight, body-mass index, and liver volumetry as determined by computerized tomography were similar in both groups. Operative time in group 2 was significantly shorter than in group 1. There was no difference in estimated blood loss, transfusion requirements, peak serum liver tests, time interval from surgery to complete normalization of liver tests, complications, and length of hospitalization. We conclude that including the MHV with living-donor right lobe grafts can be performed safely in most donors.