Background: There is a dearth of organs for liver transplantation in Israel. Enhancing our understanding of factors affecting graft survival in this country could help optimize the results of the transplant operation.
Objectives: To report 3 years national experience with orthotopic liver transplantation, and to evaluate patient and perioperative risk factors that could affect 1 year graft survival.
Methods: The study related to all 124 isolated adult liver transplantations performed in Israel between October 1997 and October 2000. Data were abstracted from the medical records. One-year graft survival was described using the Kaplan-Meier survival curve and three multivariate logistic regression models were performed: one with preoperative case-mix factors alone, and the other two with the addition of donor and operative factors respectively.
Results: Of the 124 liver transplantations performed, 32 failed (25.8%). The 1 year survival was lower than rates reported from both the United States and Europe, but the difference was not significant. Of the preoperative risk factors, recipient age ≥ 60 years, critical condition prior to surgery, high serum bilirubin and serum hemoglobin ≤ 10 g/dl were independently associated with graft failure, adjusting for all the other factors that entered the logistic regression equation. Extending the model to include donor and operative factors raised the C-statistic from 0.79 to 0.87. Donor age ≥ 40, cold ischemic time > 10 hours and a prolonged operation (> 10 hours) were the additional predictors for graft survival. A MELD score of over 18 was associated with a sixfold increased risk for graft failure (odds ratio = 6.5, P = 0.001).
Conclusions: Graft survival in Israel is slightly lower than that reported from the U.S. and Europe. Adding donor and operative factors to recipient characteristics significantly increased our understanding of 1 year survival of liver grafts.