New Living Donor Liver Transplant Programs Begin at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota

Jul 13, 2021 | Kristin Eggebraaten | @keggebraaten | Comments (1)

Nationwide, roughly 12% of liver waitlist patients die each year and additional 15% of patients are removed from the list because they are too sick. With the increasing demand for liver transplantation, the number of living donor liver transplants has recently started to increase in the US. In fact, the percentage living donor liver transplants nationwide increased from 3% to 6% last year. Currently, most living donor liver transplants are performed with a donor who knows the recipient. However, an increasing number of programs are performing liver transplants using non-direct liver donors and living liver donor paired exchange programs.

In mid-2020, Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, began two new living donor liver transplant programs, aimed at increasing the opportunity for patients to receive a liver transplant.

Living Liver Non-Directed Program

This program is similar to our existing Non-Directed Kidney Donor Program. Anyone between the ages of 25 to 59 who wishes to donate a liver, but doesn’t have an intended recipient, could enter our non-directed living donor liver program. They would begin by filling out our Health History Questionnaire, and eventually if selected as a potential donor, would come to Rochester, Minnesota, for an evaluation. This evaluation is the same evaluation that our living liver donors have been going through since 2000 when we performed our first living donor liver transplant.

To match the donor to a recipient, our first priority is to a transplant candidate who is active in the Mayo Clinic Paired Liver Program. If a match is found among this group of recipients, the non-direct liver donor could benefit multiple recipients. If there is no match within the paired exchange program, a recipient on our deceased donor waiting list at Mayo Clinic in Rochester will be selected. Preference will be given based on age, size, and/or likelihood of getting a deceased donor liver in the future.

Living Liver Paired Donation Program

This program is also similar to our existing Kidney Paired Donation Program. Anyone between the ages of 25 to 60 years old who wishes to donate a liver to their recipient, but who is not a match with their current recipient, can be entered into our paired exchange system. Aspects of the transplant that may not match include blood group and/or size incompatibility. Living Liver paired donors’ information will be kept by our team in a database to enable matching donors with the best recipients when the time comes for transplant surgery.

In the liver paired exchange program, the criteria to match donors to recipients will include but may not be limited to blood type, best match on size/anatomy, and some medical conditions.

In both of these new liver programs, patient confidentiality will be held up to the Mayo Clinic standard of practice. Information will not be disclosed between donors and recipients unless written consent from the necessary party has been given.

At the present time, these new programs are only available on our campus in Rochester, Minnesota. More planning is being done to possibly include these programs at a later date at other Mayo Clinic locations.

Do you know someone who might benefit from these new procedures? Share our post with them!



Interested in more newsfeed posts like this? Go to the Transplant blog.

Is it possible for a 63 year old male with cirrhosis of the liver to receive a liver from a relative? Thank you.
Maggie R.

Please sign in or register to post a reply.