Living Donor Liver Transplants
Survival is reportedly excellent for patients with acute liver failure who receive transplat. organs from living donors, according to a Japanese study published in the journal Liver Transplantation. The paper suggests that the type of liver disease or treatment plan does not affect long-term patient survival but that donor and patient age do impact the long-term outcome.
Roughly 2,000 Americans develop acute liver failure, also called fulminant hepatitis, every year. Many of these cases are caused by acetaminophen (Tylenol) overdose as well as drug-induced liver injury, autoimmune liver disease, or viral hepatitis. Previous studies report patient survival from acute liver failure was less than 15% before the era of liver transplantation and significantly better at more than 65% following transplantation.
A portion of a healthy liver from a living donor can be used for transplantation in the event of a shortage of deceased donor organs. A 2007 study by de Villa et al. found that LDLT accounts for less than 5% of liver transplants in the U.S. and Europe compared to more than 90% in Asia excluding mainland China.
A release from the journal quotes lead author Dr. Yasuhiko Sugawara of the University of Tokyo as saying that acute liver failure is a "life-threatening condition where the rapid deterioration of liver function causes changes in mental activity and disrupts the body’s blood clotting capabilities. Expanding knowledge of treatment options, such as LDLT, that improve patient outcome is imperative.”