Liver transplant patients gain survival benefits by accepting organs from older donors, new research shows

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BOSTON: Patients with advanced liver disease who accept liver transplants donated by people over age 70 reduce their long-term risk of death significantly compared with similar patients who decline the same offer. That survival benefit remains across the range of Model for End-stage Liver Disease (MELD) scores, according to new research findings presented at the American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress 2018.

Transplant surgeons predominately use livers from donors under age 70 in order to avoid risks such as graft failure or mortality. But because there is more demand than supply for organs, many patients do not survive while on the transplant waiting list.

Previous research shows that some recipients incur additional risks of graft failure with older liver donors, but the use of older liver donors may also offer a survival benefit,* according to lead study author Christine Haugen, MD, a surgery resident at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore. “We wanted to see if the use of older donors provided a survival benefit for patients across all MELD scores and also what happened to the patients who did not accept an older donor offer.”

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Corey Bryant serves as Director of Communications for The Alliance.
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