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Liver Transplant Statistics

written by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • updated: 7/31/2010

The liver transplant procedure allows a surgeon to replace the disease liver of a recipient with the healthy liver of a living or cadaver donor. Liver transplant statistics provide a clearer picture of how well this procedure works and what the risks are for recipients.

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    Transplant Activity

    The Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients compiles an annual report that lists information related to transplant registration, the number of living donor and cadaver donor transplants and the mortality rate of those on the waitlist for a transplant. The report lists a total of 6,101 liver transplants from cadaver donors and 219 liver transplants from living donors in 2009. There were 16,372 people on the waitlist for a liver transplant at the beginning of the year and 16,365 people on the waitlist at the end of the year. In 2009, there were 11,262 new patients registered for liver transplants.

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    The report published by the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients also covers post-transplant outcomes, specifically the survival rate for adults and children who received transplanted livers. In 2009, 88.79 percent of adults who received liver transplants survived. Pediatric patients had a survival rate of 93.28 percent. After three years, survival rates decreased to 78.55 percent of adult liver transplant recipients and 87.91 percent of pediatric transplant patients.

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    Transplant Time

    Liver transplant statistics show that it took an average of 10.3 months for patients to receive transplants after registering for the waitlist. Some patients received their transplanted organs in less than one month, while others waited several years for a suitable organ match.

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    Recipient Characteristics

    Transplant organizations also compile statistics about the people who receive liver transplants each year. In 2009, 55.3 percent of the living donor transplants were male, while 44.7 percent of the recipients were female. People 50 to 64 years of age received the greatest number of transplants, accounting for 43.8 percent of the living donor liver transplants in the United States. Patients under 2 years of age accounted for 15.5 percent of all living donor transplants. The reasons for transplantation included non-cholestatic cirrhosis, cholestatic liver disease, biliary atresia, acute hepatic necrosis, metabolic diseases and cancers of the liver.

    The liver transplant statistics for recipients who received cadaver donors show some similar numbers, but there are great differences in some categories. Males made up 66.2 percent of the liver transplants from cadaver donors, while female recipients made up 33.8 percent of this group. People aged 50 to 64 years old received 57.5 percent of cadaver liver tissue, while patients under 2 years of age only received 4.1 percent of these transplants.

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    Transplant Procedure Statistics

    Determining where donated organs come from plays an important role in administering transplant programs around the world. In the United States in 2009, 65.3 percent of donated livers came from people related to the recipients. 28.8 percent of the donated livers came from donors who were unrelated to the recipients. After transplant, the average hospital stay for someone who received a kidney transplant was 10 days.

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    Medline Plus: Liver Transplantation

    Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients: Patient Survival After Transplant

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