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Using Older Liver Donors May Help Reduce Waiting Lists

Even for those with hepatitis C virus, organs from marginal donors get good results

TUESDAY, July 22 (HealthDay News) -- Using livers donated by marginal donors may reduce the waiting time for liver transplant patients without having a negative impact on outcomes, even for patients with hepatitis C virus, according to research published in the July issue of the Archives of Surgery.

M.B. Majella Doyle, M.D., of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and colleagues conducted a study of 489 adult liver transplant patients, of whom 187 (38.2 percent) had hepatitis C virus, and 302 (61.8 percent) had other indications for liver transplantation.

Overall survival at one, three and five years was 88.1 percent, 78.3 percent and 69.2 percent, respectively, and graft survival over the same time periods was 85.6 percent, 75.6 percent and 65.6 percent, respectively, with no significant difference in outcomes between those with and without hepatitis C virus, the report indicates. There was also no significant difference in short-term or medium-term patient or graft survival for patients who received organs from donors aged 60 or above versus those whose organs came from younger donors.

"There seems to be little, if any, adverse effect on short- and medium-term follow-up with the use of carefully selected older donor grafts in recipients with hepatitis C virus," the authors write. "Data from this series suggest that the continued use of selected older donors is a safe method of expanding the liver donor pool, even for hepatitis C-positive recipients."

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