BACKGROUND: Liver grafts from donation after circulatory death (DCD) donors are increasingly accepted as an extension of the organ pool for transplantation. There is little data on the outcome of liver transplantation with DCD grafts from a pediatric donor. The objective of this study was to assess the outcome of liver transplantation with pediatric DCD grafts and to compare this with the outcome after transplantation of livers from pediatric donation after brain death (DBD) donors.
METHOD: All transplantations performed with a liver from a pediatric donor (≤16 years) in the Netherlands between 2002 and 2015 were included. Patient survival, graft survival, and complication rates were compared between DCD and DBD liver transplantation.
RESULTS: In total, 74 liver transplantations with pediatric grafts were performed; twenty (27%) DCD and 54 (73%) DBD. The median donor warm ischemia time (DWIT) was 24 min (range 15-43 min). Patient survival rate at 10 years was 78% for recipients of DCD grafts and 89% for DBD grafts (p = 0.32). Graft survival rate at 10 years was 65% in recipients of DCD versus 76% in DBD grafts (p = 0.20). If donor livers in this study would have been rejected for transplantation when the DWIT ≥30 min (n = 4), the 10-year graft survival rate would have been 81% after DCD transplantation. The rate of non-anastomotic biliary strictures was 5% in DCD and 4% in DBD grafts (p = 1.00). Other complication rates were also similar between both groups.
CONCLUSIONS: Transplantation of livers from pediatric DCD donors results in good long-term outcome especially when the DWIT is kept ≤30 min. Patient and graft survival rates are not significantly different between recipients of a pediatric DCD or DBD liver. Moreover, the incidence of non-anastomotic biliary strictures after transplantation of pediatric DCD livers is remarkably low.