Abstract

Background. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in SARS-CoV-2–test positive potential organ donors. The benefits of life-saving liver transplantation (LT) must be balanced against the potential risk of donor-derived viral transmission. Although emerging evidence suggests that the use of COVID-19–positive donor organs may be safe, granular series thoroughly evaluating safety are still needed. Results of 29 consecutive LTs from COVID-19–positive donors at a single center are presented here. Methods. A retrospective cohort study of LT recipients between April 2020 and December 2022 was conducted. Differences between recipients of COVID-19–positive (n = 29 total; 25 index, 4 redo) and COVID-19–negative (n = 472 total; 454 index, 18 redo) deceased donor liver grafts were compared. Results. COVID-19–positive donors were significantly younger (P = 0.04) and had lower kidney donor profile indices (P = 0.04) than COVID-19–negative donors. Recipients of COVID-19–positive donor grafts were older (P = 0.04) but otherwise similar to recipients of negative donors. Donor SARS-CoV-2 infection status was not associated with a overall survival of recipients (hazard ratio, 1.11; 95% confidence interval, 0.24-5.04; P = 0.89). There were 3 deaths among recipients of liver grafts from COVID-19–positive donors. No death seemed virally mediated because there was no qualitative association with peri-LT antispike antibody titers, post-LT prophylaxis, or SARS-CoV-2 variants. Conclusions. The utilization of liver grafts from COVID-19–positive donors was not associated with a decreased overall survival of recipients. There was no suggestion of viral transmission from donor to recipient. The results from this large single-center study suggest that COVID-19–positive donors may be used safely to expand the deceased donor pool.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1590
JournalTransplantation Direct
Volume10
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 7 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation

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