Liver donors were highly satisfied with the donation process, reveals a study of living liver donors. Findings published in Liver Transplantation, a journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, indicate most donors would donate again, independent of any complications from transplantation.
Hepatitis viral infection, obesity, and alcohol abuse if not treated can lead to end-stage liver disease, which requires liver transplantation for survival. However, a shortage of deceased donor organs has contributed to a large number of patients on the waiting list. In fact, the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) database reported that in 2012, there were 16,000 patients on the liver waiting list, 6,878 patients were transplanted, and 6,999 died while awaiting a liver. Of those transplanted that year, 96% received a deceased donor organ and only 4% were living donor transplants.
"Living liver donation is one of the most selfless acts a person can perform," said lead author Dr. Vanessa Humphreville with Case Western Reserve University Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, and formerly with the Division of Transplantation, Department of Surgery, University of Minnesota where the study took place. "As transplant specialists it is our responsibility to educate donors about all aspects of the donation process and our study contributes to that knowledge by examining long-term quality of life."
Results show that 11% of donors reported better health and 80% noted their health as the same as prior to donation, with 92% of living liver donors indicating they were employed. Incisional discomfort was the most common post-donation symptom noted by 34% of donors, while 22% of donors self-reported depressive symptoms following donation.
Further analyses show that increased vitality, decreased pain, and a recipient who was living were independently linked to donor satisfaction. "We found that living donors had above average quality of life compared to the general population with 97% of donors indicating they would donate again," comments Dr. Srinath Chinnakotla with Division of Transplantation, Department of Surgery at the University of Minnesota who supervised Dr. Humphreville's work on this study. "The findings show that living donation is a positive experience for donors and we must continue to share such information with potential liver donors."