BACKGROUND & AIMS: Primary non-function and ischaemic cholangiopathy are the most feared complications following donation-after-circulatory-death (DCD) liver transplantation. The aim of this study was to design a new score on risk assessment in liver-transplantation DCD based on donor-and-recipient parameters.
METHODS: Using the UK national DCD database, a risk analysis was performed in adult recipients of DCD liver grafts in the UK between 2000 and 2015 (n = 1,153). A new risk score was calculated (UK DCD Risk Score) on the basis of a regression analysis. This is validated using the United Network for Organ Sharing database (n = 1,617) and our own DCD liver-transplant database (n = 315). Finally, the new score was compared with two other available prediction systems: the DCD risk scores from the University of California, Los Angeles and King's College Hospital, London.
RESULTS: The following seven strongest predictors of DCD graft survival were identified: functional donor warm ischaemia, cold ischaemia, recipient model for end-stage liver disease, recipient age, donor age, previous orthotopic liver transplantation, and donor body mass index. A combination of these risk factors (UK DCD risk model) stratified the best recipients in terms of graft survival in the entire UK DCD database, as well as in the United Network for Organ Sharing and in our own DCD population. Importantly, the UK DCD Risk Score significantly predicted graft loss caused by primary non-function or ischaemic cholangiopathy in the futile group (>10 score points). The new prediction model demonstrated a better C statistic of 0.79 compared to the two other available systems (0.71 and 0.64, respectively).
CONCLUSIONS: The UK DCD Risk Score is a reliable tool to detect high-risk and futile combinations of donor-and-recipient factors in DCD liver transplantation. It is simple to use and offers a great potential for making better decisions on which DCD graft should be rejected or may benefit from functional assessment and further optimization by machine perfusion.
LAY SUMMARY: In this study, we provide a new prediction model for graft loss in donation-after-circulatory-death (DCD) liver transplantation. Based on UK national data, the new UK DCD Risk Score involves the following seven clinically relevant risk factors: donor age, donor body mass index, functional donor warm ischaemia, cold storage, recipient age, recipient laboratory model for end-stage liver disease, and retransplantation. Three risk classes were defined: low risk (0-5 points), high risk (6-10 points), and futile (>10 points). This new model stratified best in terms of graft survival compared to other available models. Futile combinations (>10 points) achieved an only very limited 1- and 5-year graft survival of 37% and less than 20%, respectively. In contrast, an excellent graft survival has been shown in low-risk combinations (≤5 points). The new model is easy to calculate at the time of liver acceptance. It may help to decide which risk combination will benefit from additional graft treatment, or which DCD liver should be declined for a certain recipient.