Adult Liver Allocation in Eurotransplant

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Abstract

Liver allocation in Eurotransplant is complex because allocation rules need to follow not only the guidelines of the European Commission but also the specific regulations of each of the 7 Eurotransplant countries with active liver transplant programs. Thirty-eight liver transplant centers served a population of about 135 million in 2015. Around 1600 deceased donor livers are transplanted annually. The number of deceased organ donors remains stable but donor age is increasing. Nevertheless, liver utilization rates are unchanged at around 80%. Donation after circulatory determination of death (DCD) increased fourfold in the past decade. In Belgium and the Netherlands, DCDs were responsible for 30% of deceased donor liver transplant activity in 2015; Austria only occasionally transplants a DCD liver; other Eurotransplant countries do not have active DCD programs. The most frequent indications for liver transplantation are alcoholic liver disease, hepatocellular carcinoma, and viral hepatitis. Livers are allocated first internationally to high urgency status patients or those with an approved combined organ status (for a liver in combination with heart, lung, intestine, or pancreas) and then on a national basis where allocation is recipient-driven or center-driven, depending on country-specific rules. Median waiting time for an elective liver transplant was 4,4 months in 2015; high urgency status patients waited a median of 2 days for a suitable liver. Mortality on the waiting list was 18% in 2015, 4% of patients were delisted because they became unfit for transplantation. One-year and 5-year risk unadjusted adult patient survival after transplantation is 80% and 65%, respectively.

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