Korean J Gastroenterol.  2005 Aug;46(2):75-83.

Current Status of Liver Transplantation in Korea

  • 1Division of Hepatopancreatobiliary Surgery and Liver Transplantation, Asan Medical Center, Department of Surgery, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. sglee@amc.seoul.kr


Orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) is now considered as a standard procedure for patients with end-stage liver disease. The number of patients listed for OLT using the brain-dead donor continues to outpace the number of OLT performed since early 1990s because the improved results of OLT had made it as a therapeutic means for irreversible liver disease. This scarcity of organs from the deceased donors has resulted in the increased use of the living donor liver grafts. Although the shortage of the brain-dead donor organs is a world-wide problem, the situation is especially serious in our country, where the deceased donor organ donation remains below 2 per million population per year. Now, Korea has the greatest need for living donor liver transplantation although it is more complex and demanding procedure than the deceased donor (whole organ) liver transplantation. Refinements of the technique and good results have rapidly established the position of the living donor liver transplantation in our country's transplant medicine. 2,345 OLTs (1,860 from the living donor and 485 from the deceased donor) were performed in 24 institutes from March 1988 to December 2004, although 5 institutes had performed more than 10 OLTs per year. Definitely, living donors represent a large pool of organs, but there might be a significant cost, mainly donor risk, to draw from this pool. To alleviate some disadvantages of the living donor liver transplantation and to provide organ to the patients who cannot find out the potential living donor from family members, recognition of necessity and nation-wide cooperative participation of organ donation after the brain-death should be propagated and encouraged in our country.


Liver transplantation

MeSH Terms

English Abstract
*Liver Transplantation/contraindications
Living Donors
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