BACKGROUND: The specific effect of donation after circulatory death (DCD) liver grafts on fibrinolysis, blood loss, and transfusion requirements after graft reperfusion is not well known. The aim of this study was to determine whether transplantation of controlled DCD livers is associated with an elevated risk of hyper-fibrinolysis, increased blood loss and higher transfusion requirements upon graft reperfusion, compared to livers donated after brain death (DBD).
METHODS: A retrospective single-center analysis of all adult recipients of a primary liver transplantation between 2000 and 2019 was performed (total cohort n= 628). Propensity score matching (PSM) was used to balance baseline characteristics for DCD and DBD liver recipients (PSM cohort n= 218). Intra- and postoperative hemostatic variables between DCD and DBD liver recipients were subsequently compared. Additionally, in vitro plasma analyses were performed to compare the intraoperative fibrinolytic state upon reperfusion.
RESULTS: No significant differences in median (interquartile range) postreperfusion blood loss (1.2 L [0.5-2.2] vs 1.3 L (0.6-2.2); P= 0.62), RBC transfusion (2 units [0-4) vs 1.1 units [0-3], P= 0.21), or FFP transfusion requirements (0 units [0-2.2] vs 0 units (0-0.9); P= 0.11) were seen in DCD compared to DBD recipients, respectively. Furthermore, plasma fibrinolytic potential was similar in both groups.
CONCLUSIONS: Transplantation of controlled DCD liver grafts does not result in higher intraoperative blood loss or more transfusion requirements, compared to DBD liver transplantation. In accordance to this, no evidence for increased hyper-fibrinolysis upon reperfusion in DCD compared to DBD liver grafts, was found.