Background: The lack of organs for liver transplantation has prompted transplant professionals to study potential solutions, such as the use of livers from donors older than 70 years. This strategy is not widely accepted because potential risks of vascular and biliary complications and recurrence of hepatitis C.
Objectives: To examine the efficacy and safety of liver grafts from older donors for transplantation.
Methods: A retrospective analysis of data on 310 adults who underwent deceased donor liver transplantation between 2005 and 2015 was conducted. We compared graft and recipient survival, as well as major complications, of transplants performed with grafts from donors younger than 70 years (n=265, control group) and those older than 70 years (n=45, older-donor group), followed by multivariate analysis, to identify risk factors.
Results: There was no significant difference between the control and older-donor group at 1, 5, and 10 years of recipient survival (79.5% vs. 73.3%, 68.3% vs. 73.3%, 59.2% vs. 66.7%, respectively) or graft survival (74.0% vs. 71.0%, 62.7% vs. 71.0%, 54.8% vs. 64.5%, respectively). The rate of biliary and vascular complications was similar in both groups. Significant risk factors for graft failure were hepatitis C (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.92, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 1.16–2.63), older donor age (HR = 1.02, 95%CI 1.007–1.031), and male gender of the recipient (HR = 1.65, 95%CI 1.06–2.55).
Conclusion: Donor age affects liver graft survival. However, grafts from donors older than 70 years may be equally safe if cold ischemia is maintained for less than 8 hours.