No Improvement in Long-Term Liver Transplant Graft Survival in the Last Decade: An Analysis of the UNOS Data


* Corresponding author: Paul I. Terasaki,


We analyzed change in outcomes during two successive 5-year periods (period I = 1992–1996 vs period II = 1997–2002) among 35 186 deceased adult liver transplant recipients reported to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) Registry. The 5-year graft survival was 67.4% in the first period and 67.5% in the second, though the 1-year survival had improved from 81.0 to 83.5%. Comparison of blended survival rates during the two study periods showed decreased long-term graft survival in period II, explicable by an increased number of hepatitis C virus cirrhosis (HCV) patients and an increase in patients with HCV antibodies (HCVab) during this later period. Analysis wherein these patients with HCV were excluded revealed the same long-term graft survival during both periods. Non-HCV patients who had HCVab also had worse 5-year graft survival. We conclude that hepatitis C prevented improved outcomes during period II and that improved, more effective, treatment for hepatitis C virus would have great positive impact on overall survival of liver transplant recipients.