Objective: To assess performance of the Western Australian Liver Transplantation Service in the light of debate about whether small transplant centres can produce optimal outcomes.Design: Review of patient data collected prospectively and confirmed by retrospective casenote review,Subjects: All patients referred to the Western Australian Liver Transplantation Assessment Panel. Those who underwent transplantation at the Western Australian Liver Transplantation Service (to June 1996) were compared with those referred to other transplant centres before the elective service was established in July 1994.Outcome measures: Numbers of referrals and transplants; characteristics of the transplantation procedure; and patient outcomes.Results: Annual referrals for liver transplant in Western Australia (WA) increased from 12 (1985-1993) to 41 (July 1994-June 1996), with five deaths on the ''activated'' list before July 1994, but none after, To June 1996, 30 patients had received 31 transplants by the Western Australian Liver Transplantation Service (two emergency transplants in 1992 and 1993, respectively, and 28 elective transplants and one retransplant after June 1994), with median operation time of 5.5 hours (range, 3-10.5), median red cell transfusion of 4 units (range, 0-55) and median hospital stay of 24 days (range, 12-128). There was no severe primary graft dysfunction. Major complications included hepatic artery thrombosis or stenosis (5 patients, one requiring retransplant), biliary stricture not associated with hepatic artery pathology, bile leak and perihepatic abscess (4 each), and cytomegalovirus infection (3). Patient survival was 83% and graft survival 81% at a mean follow-up of 13 months, compared with 86% and 83%, respectively, at one year for WA patients who received transplants elsewhere before July 1994.Conclusions: Performance of the Western Australian Liver Transplantation Service compares favourably with national and international standards, and WA patients receiving liver transplants have increased dramatically since the service was established. This supports the viability of committed liver transplantation centres with only 10-15 patients a year and argues the need for nationally decentralised services.
|Journal||Medical Journal of Australia|
|Publication status||Published - 1997|