Right lobe living donor liver transplantation (LD-LTx) is currently performed at an increasing number of transplant centers. Donor selection, donor safety, donor recovery, and postdonation psychological impairment are essential criteria to determine whether and under which conditions LD-LTx is justifiable. Before commencing the LD-LTx program, approval was obtained from the local ethics committee. Potential donors underwent a comprehensive multistep evaluation protocol to exclude any conditions that could lead to an increased operative risk. Each donation was approved by the local Living Donation Commission. Follow-up investigations were performed after 6 and 12 months. Liver regeneration was assessed by computed tomography scan and magnetic resonance imaging scan derived volumetries. Quality of life (QOL) was investigated according to the Anamnestic Comparative Self-Assessment Scale (ACSA) before donation, and 6 and 12 months after donation. As of December 2001, 43 right lobe living donations have been performed at the Charité, Campus Virchow, Berlin. None of the donors died or has suffered life-threatening or persisting complications. All patients recovered completely. Complications occared in 8 donors (18%). The incidence of perioperative surgical complications was 9%, comprising temporary biliary leakages (n = 3; 6.8%) as well as postoperative bleeding (n = 1). Liver volume regeneration approximated 72% ± 15% of predonation volume by 6 months and 85% ± 18% (mean ± SD) by 12 months. There was no evidence of significant psychological impairment after donation. QOL increased after donation compared with the preoperative state (P <.05). In our experience, LD-LTx has proven to be a practicable and safe procedure. However, there is a considerable risk of postoperative complications. The donor selection process plays a pivotal role in preventing complications. The discussion of potential risks, especially potential life-threatening risks, must be an integral part of informed consent.
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