The large volume of adult living donor liver transplantations (ALDLTs) at our center affords a unique opportunity to examine the impact of acute-on-chronic liver failure (ACLF) among high–Model for End-Stage Liver Disease MELD score patients. From February 1998 to March 2010, 1958 cirrhotic recipients were analyzed to study the relationship between MELD scores and ALDLT outcomes. A total of 327 high-MELD score recipients were categorized into ACLF and non-ACLF groups, and their outcomes were compared. The 5-year graft and patient survival in the high-MELD group were 75.2% and 76.4%, respectively, which were significantly worse than the low and intermediate MELD groups. The presence of ACLF associated with higher MELD scores appeared to be the dominant factor responsible for the inferior results of patients with MELD score of 30–34 points. The 5-year graft survivals in the ACLF group was 70.5% and in the non-ACLF group it was 81.0% (p = 0.035). Therefore, ALDLT should be performed as soon as possible in high-MELD score patients prior to ACLF development. Moreover, ACLF patients should be separately categorized when analyzing the outcomes of ALDLT. ALDLT for ACLF patients should not be discouraged because favorable outcomes can be expected through timely ALDLT and comprehensive management.
While adult living donor liver transplantation should be performed as soon as possible before acute-on-chronic liver failure develops, it should not be discouraged for patients with acute-on-chronic liver failure since timely transplantation and comprehensive management can bring a favorable outcome.