The seven-year project will investigate the experience of patients eligible for living donor liver transplantation, focusing on factors influencing outcomes for donors and recipients. Researchers will compare outcomes of this procedure with those for patients who receive livers from cadavers.
Because of the shortage of donor livers, many patients with liver disease die while awaiting an organ for transplantation. In 2001, about 17,000 patients waited for donated livers, but only 4,673 cadeveric organs were actually donated that year.
"Liver transplantation is the only definitive therapy for end-stage liver disease. Due to the huge discrepancy between the number of cadaveric organs available for standard transplantation and patient need, centers around the world are trying to expand the donor pool by using livers from live donors. UNC has been a pioneer in this effort," said Dr. Roshan Shrestha, associate professor of medicine at the School of Medicine and medical director of the liver transplantation program. Shrestha is also principal investigator of the UNC study site.
In living donor liver transplants, a living healthy donor, usually a relative of the patient, donates a section of liver to the recipient. The liver is a large segmented organ that can potentially be split without harm to the donor and with benefit to the recipient. Unlike most organs, the liver can regenerate itself. The donor's remaining liver grows to its original size within weeks. Likewise, the donated lobe will also grow in the recipient's body.
For children in need of liver transplantation, the success of living donor transplantation from an adult made it an accepted medical option. Adults in need of liver transplantation require a larg
Contact: Leslie Lang
University of North Carolina School of Medicine