Lahey's Liver transplantation program, now 10 yrs old, credited with performing the most live donor surgeries in U.S.

Release Date: 09/03/2008

Margie Coloian
Communications and Marketing
Phone: (781) 744-3859

Lahey's Liver transplantation program, now 10 yrs old, credited with performing the most live donor surgeries in U.S.

BURLINGTON, MA—The Division of Transplantation at Lahey Clinic celebrates major milestones in liver transplant this year, by marking the 10th anniversary of its prominent live donor program that is recognized for performing the most transplants of any other U.S. program. The team also honors the 25th anniversary of the first successful liver transplant in New England, performed under the direction of Roger Jenkins, MD, chief of surgery at Lahey.

What is live donor liver transplant?
Live liver transplant entails removing the right lobe of the donor's liver (about 60 percent of the total liver) and implanting it into the recipient. Following surgery, there is a rapid regeneration of liver tissue, which allows both the donor and recipient livers to regenerate to nearly full size. Donors are usually relatives or someone with strong emotional ties to the recipient.

One benefit of this procedure is that it is performed when the recipient is in the “best” condition, before physical deterioration can occur while waiting for a suitable donor. Secondly, live donor liver transplantations shorten the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) waiting list, allowing other patients without a potential live donor to move up on the list. Live donor liver transplantation offers the possibility of transplant to an additional 5 percent of all patients on the UNOS waiting list, but a much larger percentage of patients at Lahey Clinic.

Liver transplant numbers:
Since inception of the live donor liver transplant program, Lahey Clinic surgeons have transplanted 175 patients -- more than any surgical program has in the U.S. Since 1983, Lahey Clinic surgeons have performed 927 liver transplants (from deceased donors). Overall, the one-year patient survival rate for Lahey Clinic's liver transplant program (combined) is 91 percent.

Advancing transplant medicine:

  • The Lahey team performed the world's first successful simultaneous live donor liver/kidney transplant in 1999.
  • Last month, members of the Lahey liver transplant team presented their findings from an ongoing study on the quality of life for donors at the International Liver Transplant Society Conference in Paris. The study shows that among the 93 Lahey Clinic donors surveyed, nearly all indicated satisfaction with the donation process regardless of recipient outcome. However, employment status (being absent from work for the surgery and recovery) and personal finances were identified as major stressors for them.
  • Lahey physicians have published their experience on donor and recipient outcomes in the American Journal of Transplantation and have collaborated with investigators at other institutions on liver regeneration in both donors and recipients.

About Lahey Clinic
Lahey Clinic, a physician-led, nonprofit group practice, is world-renowned for innovative technology, pioneering medical treatment, and leading-edge research. A teaching hospital of Tufts University School of Medicine, the Clinic provides quality health care in virtually every specialty and subspecialty, from primary care to cancer diagnosis and treatment to kidney and liver transplantation.