Liver Transplants Can Last Up to A Decade, Study Shows

In Education

A group of researchers have discovered livers that have lived for over a century, originating from adult donors. They examined the age at transplant and the recipient’s lifespan, highlighting the potential longevity of these organs. Scientists are intrigued by how donated livers remain resilient for such an extended period outside the original body.

Research shows liver transplants can survive over a decade

The study, led by Yash Kadakia, a medical student at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, examined pre-transplant survival, donor age, and the longevity of livers in recipients. They identified factors from donors, recipients, and the transplantation process that contributed to livers surviving for over 100 years.

In the study using UNOS STARfile data, researchers sought livers with a cumulative age of at least 100 years, combining their initial age at transplant and post-transplant lifespan. Among 254,406 liver transplants from 1990 to 2022, only 25 livers met this criterion and were termed “centurion livers.” These exceptional livers came from donors averaging 84.7 years of age, in contrast to the typical 38.5 years for non-centurion liver transplants. Furthermore, centurion liver donors were less prone to diabetes and donor infections.

Dr. Christine S. Hwang, co-author of the study highlighted a prior reluctance to use livers from older donors but expressed the potential to improve transplant outcomes by understanding the unique qualities of these donors.

Why it’s challenging to find a liver donor

Finding a suitable liver donor for life-saving transplant procedures is a complex challenge. The shortage of organ donors in the United States exacerbates the problem, with over 100,000 individuals awaiting transplants while only around 40,000 transplants occurred in 2022. The liver, a vital and intricate organ, complicates the matching process due to its size and multifaceted functions, such as blood filtration and bile production.

 Additionally, individuals with liver disease are often gravely ill, experiencing symptoms like fatigue and jaundice. Some may even succumb to their condition while awaiting transplant due to the risks and complications associated with this major surgical procedure, which can be unsuitable for certain individuals based on their overall health.

Mobile Sliding Menu