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Researchers find disparities in how donor livers are awarded

Category: Liver Diseases

Many individuals who receive unhealthy liver panel test results end up being diagnosed with an advanced-stage condition that requires a transplant. New research indicates that patients may be more or less likely to receive an organ depending on the type of liver disease they have.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania analyzed medical records of individuals on the national transplant list. They found that 4.2 percent of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma, one of the most common forms of liver cancer, are removed from the list due to death or worsening condition. However, 11 percent of individuals with non-cancer liver conditions are removed from the list for these reasons.

The team said the findings show that there may be disparities in the processes used to determine who receives liver transplants. It may be necessary to revise the criteria that judges who has the strongest transplant need.

"With the scarcity of available livers for transplantation, it is vital that allocation criteria ensure those candidates at greatest mortality risk are first to receive a life-saving organ," said Dr. David Goldberg, who led the study.

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