What is being done to decrease the donor shortage for liver transplantation in the treatment of cirrhosis?

Updated: Jul 30, 2018
  • Author: David C Wolf, MD, FACP, FACG, AGAF, FAASLD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Answer

Approximately 6500 liver transplants are performed in the United States each year. An increasing number of lives are being saved every year by transplant. However, the number of diagnosed cases of cirrhosis is rising, fueled in part by the hepatitis C epidemic and by the growing number of cases of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). This has resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of patients listed as candidates for liver transplantation.

Approximately 12-15% of patients listed as candidates die while waiting because of the relatively static number of organ donations. Strategies to improve the current donor organ shortage include programs to increase public awareness of the importance of organ donation, increased use of living donor liver transplantation for pediatric and adult recipients, organ donation after cardiac death, and the use of extended criteria donors (ECDs).


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