Liver transplantation: expanding the donor and recipient pool

Chin Clin Oncol. 2020 Dec 14:cco-20-212. doi: 10.21037/cco-20-212. Online ahead of print.


Liver transplantation is an exemplar model of complex surgery and the only curative option for patients with end-stage liver disease. Although historically associated with poor outcomes, liver cancer management has also been revolutionised with liver transplantation and in some instances, survival outcomes are comparable to surgical resection. As such, the key elements underpinning the major advances in surgical technique, immunological therapies and allocation policies combined with improved patient and graft survival outcomes have created a huge demand for organ donation. Despite improvements in donor and recipient selection, there is a persistent disparity between organ supply and demand. Candidate wait-list mortality and dropout rates remain problematic and this concern has resulted in increased efforts to expand the donor pool to meet the unmet needs of the population. This is even more challenging when coupled with an ever-growing recipient pool, candidate waiting lists and an ageing population. Over the past two decades, there has been a considerable focus on extended criteria organs, donations after cardiac death and alternative avenues for marginal liver use. With careful donor selection and recipient matching, these livers may help bridge the gap between supply and demand and placate the ever-expanding recipient pool. Here, we present a summary of recent developments by the transplant community addressing the issues of a growing donor and recipient pool.

PMID:33353363 | DOI:10.21037/cco-20-212