The impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on Liver Transplantation programmes in Northern Italy

Umberto Maggi, Luciano De Carlis, Daniel Yiu, Michele Colledan, Enrico Regalia, Giorgio Rossi, Marco Angrisani, Dario Consonni, Gianluca Fornoni, Giuseppe Piccolo, Tullia Maria DeFeo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In January 2020, Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) resulted in a global pandemic, creating uncertainty towards the management of Liver Transplantation (LT) programmes. Lombardy has been the most affected region in Italy: The current mortality rate of COVID-19 patients is 18,3% (10022 deaths) (April 10th) with hospitals in Lombardy having to expand the total number of ICU beds from 724 to 1381 to accommodate infected patients. There has been a drastic decrease in liver donors. From February 23rd until April 10th, 17 LTs were performed in Lombardy. Mean donor age was 49 years (range 18-74) whereas mean recipient age was 55 (13-69); mean MELD Score was 12 (6-24). All donors underwent screening for SARS CoV-2 prior to LT. Two patients tested positive after LT, and one patient died for COVID on POD 30. 16 patients are alive after an average of 30 days post LT (range 3-46). 10 patients have been discharged. This study has found no specific reason concerning the safety of recipients, to stop liver transplantation programmes. Several Key-lessons from our experience are reported. However, due to the complex circumstances which surround the viral outbreak, the cessation or a reduction in LT activity is a pragmatic requirement.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Transplantation
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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