Jigesh A. Shah, Madhukar S. Patel, Johannes R. Kratz, James F. Markmann, Parsia A. Vagefi
Background. Liver re-transplantation (re-OLT) remains the only feasible option for patients with graft failure following liver transplantation. Sparse resources and a growing waitlist mandate that available grafts are allocated properly. We studied the differences in patient demographics, characteristics, and survival for those listed for re-OLT in a region with prolonged wait times. Material and methods. We performed a single-center retrospective study, from 2005 to 2013, of adult candidates listed for liver re-OLT at a tertiary care center within United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) region 1. Results. Of the 48 patients listed for re-OLT, 1(2%) improved while waiting, 14(29%) died while waiting, and 33(69%) underwent re-OLT. Those re-transplanted represented 11% of the centerâs adult liver transplant volume during the same time period. Comparing those who died while waiting to those who achieved re-OLT, there was no significant difference in age (median 52 vs. 48 years, p=0.56) or MELD at second listing (median 29 vs. 26, p = 0.90). Waitlisted candidates who failed to achieve re-transplant died on average of 15.5 days (IQR 36 days) days after re-listing. Those re-transplanted achieved 3-year survival of 70% and there was no significant difference in 3-year survival of those re-transplanted within or beyond 90 days of first transplant (70% vs. 69.5%, p = 0.28). Conclusions. In conclusion, re-OLT is the only viable option for candidates with nonreversible liver graft failure. Inability to achieve re-OLT leads to nearly assured and expeditious death. Despite technical challenges, in experienced hands excellent long term survival following re-OLT can be achieved.
Key words. Liver transplantation, Liver re-transplantation, Waitlist removal