The demographics of patients in the United States who undergo living donor liver transplantation (LDLT) versus patients who undergo deceased donor liver transplantation (DDLT) are interesting with respect to the demographics of the donor service areas (DSAs). We examined adult recipients of primary, non-status 1 liver-only transplants from 2003 to 2009. The likelihood of undergoing LDLT was compared to the likelihood of undergoing DDLT by multivariate logistic regression. We examined the adjusted odds ratio (OR) for undergoing LDLT versus DDLT for patients with the same diagnosis and blood type after we stratified the DSAs into quintiles by the median match Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) scores. LDLT was performed for 1497 of 32,927 liver transplants (4.5%). LDLT decreased in frequency by approximately 30% from 2003 to 2009. In comparison with DDLT recipients, LDLT recipients were younger and had higher albumin levels, lower body mass indices, and lower match MELD scores. Females had increased odds of LDLT in comparison with males (OR = 1.74, P < 0.001). Patients with MELD exception scores were less likely to undergo LDLT (OR = 0.22, P < 0.001). Patients with cholestatic liver disease (adjusted OR = 2.04, P < 0.001) or malignant neoplasms other than hepatocellular carcinoma (adjusted OR = 3.33, P < 0.001) were more likely than patients with hepatitis C virus to undergo LDLT. Other characteristics associated with decreased odds of LDLT were black race (adjusted OR = 0.41, P < 0.001) and government insurance (adjusted OR = 0.51, P < 0.001). LDLT was more frequent in DSAs with high median MELD scores; the adjusted OR for LDLT was 38 for the DSAs in the highest quintile (P < 0.001). In conclusion, there are significant differences associated with race, insurance, sex, MELD exceptions, and DSA MELD scores between patients who undergo LDLT and patients who undergo DDLT. These differences can be hypothesized to be driven in part by the relative availability of LDLT versus DDLT at both the patient level and the DSA level.
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