The Utility of Extended Criteria Donor Livers in High Acuity Liver Transplant Recipients

Jacob Guorgui, Takahiro Ito, Stephanie Younan, Vatche G. Agopian, Joseph Dinorcia, Douglas G. Farmer, Ronald W. Busuttil, Fady M. Kaldas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: Although the use of extended criteria donor (ECD) liver allografts has gained momentum as a potential method by which to expand the donor pool, their use largely remains relegated to low acuity liver transplant (LT) recipients. Thus, we sought to examine whether such grafts also have utility in high acuity (Model for End-Stage Liver Disease [MELD] ≥ 35) recipients. Study Design: Extended criteria donors were defined as donor age > 60 years, hepatitis C virus positive donor, split livers, livers with cold ischemia time > 12 h, donor after cardiac death livers, or having macrosteatosis > 30%. Outcomes were compared between standard liver (SL) and ECD grafts in recipients with MELD ≥ 35. Results: Of 225 patients, 46 (20.4%) received an ECD liver and 179 (79.6%) received a SL. Extended criteria donor graft recipients had significantly higher levels of post-LT maximal transaminases and rate of early allograft dysfunction. Nonetheless, high acuity ECD graft recipients had similar short- and long-term patient survival compared to SL recipients, with 1-,3-, and 5-year survivals of 86.9%, 82.3%, 79.3% and 86.9%, 80.5%, and 75.4%, respectively (P =.674). There were also no significant differences in graft survival or rejection-free survival between the 2 groups. Conclusion: The lack of inferior patient/graft survival among high acuity ECD graft recipients suggests that ECD livers present a viable method by which to expand the donor pool for this group of patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1684-1689
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • extended criteria donors
  • high acuity
  • liver transplantation
  • marginal livers


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