Disparities in Waitlist and Posttransplantation Outcomes in Liver Transplant Registrants and Recipients Aged 18 to 24 Years: Analysis of the UNOS Database

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Abstract

Background

We evaluated liver transplantation waitlist and posttransplantation outcomes in those aged 18 to 24 years compared with both younger (0-17 years) and older (25-34 years) registrants and recipients.

Methods

Using national data from the United Network for Organ Sharing, competing risk, Cox regression and Kaplan-Meier analyses were performed on first-time liver transplant registrants (n = 13 979) and recipients (n = 8718) ages 0 to 34 years between 2002 and 2015.

Results

Nonstatus 1A registrants, registrants aged 0 to 17 and 25 to 34 years were less likely to experience dropout from the waiting list compared with those aged 18 to 24 years (adjusted hazard ratio, 0-5 years = 0.36; 6-11 = 0.29; 12-17 = 0.48; 18-24 = 1.00; 25-34 = 0.82). Although there was no difference in risk of graft failure across all age groups, both younger and older age groups had significantly lower risk of posttransplant mortality compared with those aged 18 to 24 years (adjusted hazard ratio, for 0-5 years = 0.53, 6-11 = 0.48, 12-17 = 0.70, 18-24 = 1.00, 25-34 = 0.77). This may be related to lower likelihood of retransplantation after graft failure in those aged 18 to 24 years.

Conclusions

This national registry study demonstrates for the first time poorer waitlist and postliver transplant outcomes in young adults ages 18 to 24 years at the time of listing and transplantation compared to older and younger age groups. Given the potential survival benefit in transplanting young adults and the shortage of solid organs for transplant, future studies are critical to identify and target modifiable risk factors to improve waitlist and long-term posttransplant outcomes in 18- to 24-year-old registrants and recipients.

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