Background & Aims: More than 2000 adult-to-adult living donor liver transplantations (LDLT) have been performed in the United States, yet the potential benefit to liver transplant candidates of undergoing LDLT compared with waiting for deceased donor liver transplantation (DDLT) is unknown. The aim of this study was to determine whether there is a survival benefit of adult LDLT. Methods: Adults with chronic liver disease who had a potential living donor evaluated from January 1998 to February 2003 at 9 university-based hospitals were analyzed. Starting at the time of a potential donor's evaluation, we compared mortality after LDLT to mortality among those who remained on the waiting list or received DDLT. Median follow-up was 4.4 years. Comparisons were made by hazard ratios (HR) adjusted for LDLT candidate characteristics at the time of donor evaluation. Results: Among 807 potential living donor recipients, 389 underwent LDLT, 249 underwent DDLT, 99 died without transplantation, and 70 were awaiting transplantation at last follow-up. Receipt of LDLT was associated with an adjusted mortality HR of 0.56 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.42-0.74; P < .001) relative to candidates who did not undergo LDLT. As centers gained greater experience (>20 LDLT), LDLT benefit was magnified, with a mortality HR of 0.35 (95% CI: 0.23-0.53; P < .001). Conclusions: Adult LDLT was associated with lower mortality than the alternative of waiting for DDLT. This reduction in mortality was magnified as centers gained experience with LDLT. This reduction in transplant candidate mortality must be balanced against the risks undertaken by the living donors themselves.
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