Deceased Pediatric Donor Livers: How Current Policy Drives Allocation and Transplantation

Jin Ge, Evelyn K. Hsu, John Bucuvalas, Jennifer C. Lai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Each year, approximately 60 children, representing 12% of waitlist candidates, die awaiting liver transplantation. The current allocation algorithm for pediatric donor livers prioritizes local/regional adults over national children. We attempted to better understand the impact of the present algorithm on pediatric candidates. We analyzed pediatric donor liver offers from 2010 to 2014. Donors and recipients were classified based on age. We mapped allocation and acceptance patterns and used subgroup analyses to explore the significance of donor service areas (DSAs) with low pediatric transplant volumes. We used Cox proportional hazard regressions to evaluate posttransplantation outcomes: 3,318 pediatric donor livers were transplanted into 3,482 recipients, and 45% (1,569) were adults. Of the 1,569 adults, 25% (390) received a pediatric organ that was never offered to children; 52% (204) of these 390 pediatric organs originated in the 37 DSAs, with ≤25 pediatric liver transplantations; 278 children died or were delisted due to illness during the same time, with higher mortality rates in the 37 DSAs (10% versus 6%, P < 0.01). Compared to adults, pediatric recipients aged <12 years had lower risks of posttransplant mortality (hazard ratio, 0.62; 95% confidence interval, 0.46-0.81; P < 0.01). Conclusions: We found that 45% of pediatric donor livers were transplanted into adults: 390 adults were transplanted with pediatric organs never offered to children, while 278 children died or were delisted due to illness, which was more apparent in DSAs with low pediatric transplant volumes; we advocate for a change to allocation policies to allow pediatric organs to be offered to national children with status 1B or Model for End-Stage Liver Disease/Pediatric End-Stage Liver Disease >15 before being offered to local/regional + circle non–status 1A adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1231-1241
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2019


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