Alcohol abuse in deceased liver donors: impact on post-transplant outcomes




Many deceased liver donors with a history of alcohol abuse are excluded based upon medical history alone. This paper summarizes the transplant outcomes for a large number of deceased liver donors with a documented history of alcohol abuse.


The records for 1478 consecutive deceased liver donors were reviewed (2001–2012). As per the United Network for Organ Sharing criteria, heavy alcohol use by an organ donor is defined as chronic intake of two or more drinks per day. Donors with a documented history of alcohol abuse were divided into three groups according to duration of abuse (<10 years, 10–24 years and 25 +  years). Reperfusion biopsies are reported. Outcomes include biopsy appearance, early graft function and early and late graft survival.


There were 161 donors with alcohol abuse: <10 years (29%); 10–24 years (42%); and ≥25 years (29%). Risk of 90-day graft loss for these three groups was: 0%, 3% and 2%, compared to 3% for all other donors (= 0.62). Graft survival at 1 year for donor grafts with and without alcohol abuse was 89% and 87% (= 0.52). There was no difference in early graft function. Cox proportional hazards modelling for graft survival demonstrates no statistically significant difference in survival up to 10 years post-transplant.


This study demonstrates successful transplantation of a large number of deceased donor liver grafts from donors with a documented history of alcohol abuse (n = 161; 11% of all grafts). These extended criteria donor allografts may, therefore, be utilized successfully with similar outcomes.