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Keywords:

  • A2ALL;
  • complications;
  • learning curve;
  • liver transplant;
  • living donor;
  • outcomes

Patients considering living donor liver transplantation (LDLT) need to know the risk and severity of complications compared to deceased donor liver transplantation (DDLT). One aim of the Adult-to-Adult Living Donor Liver Transplantation Cohort Study (A2ALL) was to examine recipient complications following these procedures. Medical records of DDLT or LDLT recipients who had a living donor evaluated at the nine A2ALL centers between 1998 and 2003 were reviewed. Among 384 LDLT and 216 DDLT, at least one complication occurred after 82.8% of LDLT and 78.2% of DDLT (p = 0.17). There was a median of two complications after DDLT and three after LDLT. Complications that occurred at a higher rate (p < 0.05) after LDLT included biliary leak (31.8% vs. 10.2%), unplanned reexploration (26.2% vs. 17.1%), hepatic artery thrombosis (6.5% vs. 2.3%) and portal vein thrombosis (2.9% vs. 0.0%). There were more complications leading to retransplantation or death (Clavien grade 4) after LDLT versus DDLT (15.9% vs. 9.3%, p = 0.023). Many complications occurred more commonly during early center experience; the odds of grade 4 complications were more than two-fold higher when centers had performed ≤20 LDLT (vs. >40). In summary, complication rates were higher after LDLT versus DDLT, but declined with center experience to levels comparable to DDLT.