Living Donor Liver Transplantation: Selection, Perioperative Care, and Outcome

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A perception that living donor liver transplantation can be accomplished with an acceptable donor complication rate and recipient survival rate has led to the acceptance of living donor liver transplantation as a viable alternative to decreased deceased donor transplantation. Careful candidate evaluation and selection has been crucial to the success of this procedure. Advancements in the understanding of the lobar nature of the liver and of liver regeneration have advanced the surgical technique. Initial attempts at adult-to-adult donation utilized the left hepatic lobe, but now have evolved into use of the right hepatic lobe. Size matching is very important to successful graft function in the recipient. There is great concern regarding morbidity and mortality in donors. Biliary complications and infections continue to be among the most highly reported complications, although rates vary among centers and countries. Reports of single center complications have ranged from 9% to 67%. A survey of centers in the United States in 2003 reported complications of 10%. A series from our institution reported complications arising in 13 (33%) of 39 patients. A review focused on documenting donor deaths found 33 living liver donor deaths worldwide. The much publicized immediate postoperative mishap of 2002 that resulted in a donor's death resulted in a drop in the utilization of living donor liver transplantation in the United States, from which this procedure has never fully recovered. The future development and expansion of living donor liver transplantation depends on open communication regarding donor complications and deaths. Close immediate post-operative monitoring and meticulous management will remain an essential aspect in limiting donor complications and deaths.

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