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Living donor is less likely for liver transplant patients who are divorced or on low income

Among people with end-stage liver disease, those who are immigrants, divorced or on a lower income level are less likely to have a potential volunteer for liver donation, suggests a study in Canada.

Demand for liver transplantation is greater than the supply of deceased donor organs, a situation that is focusing attention on the living donor option.

Researchers at the liver transplant programme at the University Health Network, Toronto General Hospital in Ontario, Canada, set out to discover the characteristics of patients likely to have a potential living donor.

Financial assistance and educational programmes may help increase living donor numbers for liver transplants

Picture credit: SPL

They retrospectively reviewed 491 patients who were listed for liver transplantation at the centre over a 24-month period. Demographic, medical and socioeconomic data were extracted from electronic records.

A total of 245 (50%) patients had a least one potential living donor; 70% of these recipients were male and the average age was 53. Analysis revealed that patients who had potential access to a living donor were more likely to have severe liver disease (Child-Pugh class C) and less likely to be older, single, divorced, an immigrant or from the lowest income level.

Lead author Eberhard Renner said: ‘More research is needed to understand and overcome the barriers to live donor liver transplants. Possible interventions like financial assistance and educational programmes may help increase liver donation from living donors.’

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