Lost potential and missed opportunities for DCD liver transplantation in the United States

Academic Article


  • Background: Donation after cardiac death(DCD) has been proposed as an avenue to expand the liver donor pool. Methods: We examined factors associated with nonrecovery of DCD livers using UNOS data from 2015 to 2019. Results: There 265 non-recovered potential(NRP) DCD livers. Blood type AB (7.8% vs. 1.1%) and B (16.9% vs. 9.8%) were more frequent in the NRP versus actual donors (p < 0.001). The median driving time between donor hospital and transplant center was similar for NRP and actual donors (30.1 min vs. 30.0 min; p = 0.689), as was the percentage located within a transplant hospital (20.8% vs. 20.9%; p = 0.984).The donation service area(DSA) of a donor hospital explained 27.9% (p = 0.001) of the variability in whether a DCD liver was recovered. Conclusion: A number of potentially high quality DCD donor livers go unrecovered each year, which may be partially explained by donor blood type and variation in regional and DSA level practice patterns.
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  • Cannon RM; Nassel AF; Walker JT; Sheikh SS; Orandi BJ; Lynch RJ; Shah MB; Goldberg DS; Locke JE