Living-Donor Liver Transplantation in the United States: Identifying Donors at Risk for Perioperative Complications


* Corresponding author: Peter Abt,


Donor safety has been scrutinized by both the medical community and the media. Variability exists in reported donor complications and associated risk factors are ill defined. Use of administrative data can overcome the bias of single-center studies and explore variables associated with untoward events. A retrospective cohort study identifying living liver donors in two large healthcare registries yielded 433 right and left lobe donors from 13 centers between 2001 and 2005. Perioperative complications were identified using International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision (ICD-9) coding data and classified according to the Clavien system. Logistic regression models identified factors associated with complications. There was one perioperative death (0.23%). The overall complication rate was 29.1% and major complication rate defined by a Clavien grade ≥3 was 3.5%. Center living-donor volume (OR = 0.97, 95% CI = 0.95–0.99) and the ratio of living-donors to all donors (living and deceased) (OR = 0.94, 95% CI = 0.92–0.96) were associated with a lower risk of all complications. Donor age >50 years (OR = 4.25, 95% CI = 1.22–14.87) was associated with a higher risk of major complications. Living liver donation is currently performed with a low risk of major morbidity. Use of administrative data represents an important tool to facilitate a better understanding of donor risk factors.