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Business News/ Science / News/  Livers can stay functional for over 100 years: Study

A study by US researchers has said that the liver can stay functional for more than 100 years. Researchers from the University of Texas (UT) Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, and TransMedics, Andover, Massachusetts said that there is a small, but growing, a subset of livers that have been transplanted and have a cumulative age of more than 100 years.

The researchers studied these livers to identify characteristics to determine why the livers are resilient, paving the way for considering the potential expanded use of older liver donors.

The researchers used the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) STARfile to identify livers that had a cumulative age (total initial age at transplant plus post-transplant survival) of at least 100 years.

The analysis found that of the 253,406 livers transplanted between 1990-2022, 25 livers met the criteria of being centurion livers--those with a cumulative age over 100 years.

"We looked at pre-transplant survival--essentially, the donor's age--as well as how long the liver went on to survive in the recipient," said lead study author Yash Kadakia, a medical student at UT Southwestern Medical School. "We stratified out these remarkable livers with over 100-year survival and identified donor factors, recipient factors, and transplant factors involved in creating this unique combination where the liver was able to live to 100 years."

The researchers concluded that the centurion's livers came from older donors. The average donor age was significantly higher--84.7 years compared with 38.5 years for non-centurion liver transplants. Notably, the donors from the centurion group had a lower incidence of diabetes and fewer donor infections.

Further, the researchers noted that centurion liver donors had lower transaminases, which are enzymes that play a key role in the liver, and Elevated transaminases can cause problems in liver transplantation.

"We previously tended to shy away from using livers from older donors," said study coauthor Christine S. Hwang, MD, FACS, associate professor of surgery, UT Southwestern Medical Center. "If we can sort out what is special amongst these donors, we could potentially get more available livers to be transplanted and have good outcomes."

There are 11,113 patients on the liver transplant waiting list as of September 22, 2022. As Dr Hwang noted, using older liver donors more often could potentially expand the liver donor pool.

(With ANI inputs)

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Updated: 17 Oct 2022, 09:03 AM IST
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