HYPOTHESIS - Living donor liver transplantation (LDLT) results in improved survival compared with deceased whole and split organ transplantation in children.
OBJECTIVE - To evaluate the effect of LDLT on graft and patient survival in pediatric liver transplantation.
DESIGN - Retrospective cohort.
METHODS - Data included all pediatric recipients (aged <18 years) registered in the UNOS (United Network for Organ Sharing) database from October 1, 1987, to May 24, 2004. Covariates predictive of survival by univariate analyses were included in the Cox proportional hazards regression models in a blockwise fashion to determine predictors of survival.
RESULTS - Kaplan-Meier graft and patient survival rates were improved in LDLT recipients compared with recipients of deceased whole and split organ transplantations (P<.01). In the initial model (model P<.001), prognostic factors for graft and patient survival included recipient age, race, origin of liver disease, certain pretransplantation laboratory data, medical condition, multiorgan transplantation, retransplantation, recipient-donor ABO blood compatibility, and cold and warm ischemia times. The addition of graft type to the initial covariate set did not significantly change the model (P = .21, covariate P = .09). However, most of the positive prognostic factors identified in the model were inherent characteristics of LDLT recipients and the LDLT procedure.
CONCLUSIONS - Graft and patient survival in the pediatric population is better with LDLT than deceased organ transplantation. Factors that contribute to this difference include recipients who are less ill, who have shorter cold and warm ischemia times, and those with a decreased need for retransplantation but not the type of graft per se.