As noted in a blog last year (More on its Past Time to Split), increased use of split livers can reduce liver transplantation waitlist mortality in children. Further justification for this approach is evident from a new study (DB Mogul et al. J Pediatr 2018; 196: 148-53, editorial pg 12) indicated that outcomes following split liver organs are equivalent to whole organ liver organs.
The authors examined two time periods: 2002-2009 and 2010-2015 using the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients. n=5715
- 1-year survival from split liver transplant (SLT) improved during the later period compared to the initial period: 95% versus 89%. n=1626 (28.5% of all transplants)
- 1-year survival from living donor liver transplant (LDLT) improved during the later period compared to the initial period: 98% versus 93%. n=661 (11.6% of all transplants)
- 1-year survival from whole liver transplant (WLT) was essentially unchanged during the later period compared to the initial period: 95% versus 94%. n=3428 (60% of all transplants)
These data show that survival after transplant is no longer worsened by SLT and may be higher for LDLT than WLT.
The editorial by Dr. Bae Kim and Dr. Vakili note that there have been several proposals to encourage more use of SLTs. One that was developed “would prioritize children <2 years old before local/regional adults except for those who were status 1 or who had a MELD score above 30.” At this point, these efforts to favor SLT allocation have not been adopted by UNOS Board of Directors.
My take (borrowed from editorial): “The question should no longer be ‘To split or not to split?’ but rather ‘Why should we let children die when we can now split livers safely?'”
Related blog posts:
- Picking winners and losers with liver transplantation allocation
- Pediatric Liver Transplantation: Past Time to Split
- More on its Past Time to Split