Objective: To evaluate the first 100 adult right lobe living donor liver transplants (LDLT) in a single center to determine whether the results have improved with technical modifications and better experience. Summary Background Data: Right lobe LDLT has been increasingly performed for adults with end-stage liver disease. Numerous modifications in technique have been introduced, and a learning curve is likely in view of its complexity. Methods: One hundred consecutive adult right lobe LDLTs performed between May 1996 and May 2002 were retrospectively studied by comparing the first 50 (group 1) with the last 50 cases (group 2). The median follow-up was 37 (27 to 79) months for group 1 and 15 (7 to 27) months for group 2. Results: The characteristics of donors and liver grafts were similar. In group 2, fewer recipients were intensive care unit (ICU)-bound or had hepatorenal syndrome before transplantation, and there was a lower disease severity as shown by a lower Child-Pugh score and Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) score. Significant improvements were found in the operation time, blood loss, ICU stay, and postoperative complication rate of the donors and in the operation time, transfusion requirements, number of reoperations, ICU stay, and hospital stay of the recipients in group 2. The hospital mortality rate of recipients was reduced from 16% to 0% (P = 0.006). Graft survival rates at 12 months and 24 months were improved from 80% and 74%, respectively, in group 1 to 100% and 96%, respectively, in group 2 (P = 0.002). After adjusting for differences in recipient risk factors (ICU-bound, hepatorenal syndrome, Child-Pugh score, and MELD score) in a multivariate Cox model, recipients in group 2 had significantly lower risk of graft loss (relative risk compared with group 1, 0.13; 95% CI, 0.03 to 0.66; P = 0.014). Conclusions: There is a learning curve in adult right lobe LDLT. The results have significantly improved with technical refinement and better experience.
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