Background: Careful donor-recipient matching and reduced ischemia times have improved outcomes following donation after circulatory death (DCD) liver transplantation (LT). This study examines a single-center experience with DCD LT including high-acuity and hospitalized recipients. Methods: DCD LT outcomes were compared to a propensity score–matched (PSM) donation after brain death (DBD) LT cohort (1:4); 32 DCD LT patients and 128 PSM DBD LT patients transplanted from 2008 to 2018 were included. Analyses included Kaplan-Meier estimates and Cox proportional hazards models examining patient and graft survival. Results: Median MELD score in the DCD LT cohort was 22, with median MELD of 27 for DCD LT recipients with decompensated cirrhosis. No difference in mortality or graft loss was found (p <.05) between DCD LT and PSM DBD LT at 3 years post-transplant, nor was DCD an independent risk factor for patient or graft survival. Post-LT severe acute kidney injury was similar in both groups. Ischemic-type biliary lesions (ITBL) occurred in 6.3% (n = 2) of DCD LT recipients, resulting in 1 graft loss and 1 death. Conclusion: This study supports that DCD LT outcomes can be similar to DBD LT, with a low rate of ITBL, in a cohort including high-acuity recipients. Strict donor selection criteria, ischemia time minimization, and avoiding futile donor/recipient combinations are essential considerations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e14304
JournalClinical Transplantation
Issue number6
Early online dateApr 1 2021
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • donation after circulatory death
  • donors and donation
  • liver allograft function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation


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