In the most recent ‘X-men’ movie (Days of Future Past), the disastrous future is averted by having Wolverine go back in time to correct a mistake. Overall, while there are a good number of movies that have used this trick, this particular movie is pretty clever. For whatever reason, this movie came to mind as I was reading a recent study: “Declining Liver Graft Quality Threatens the Future of Liver Transplantation in the United States” (ES Orman et al. Liver Transpl 2015; 21: 1040-50). The authors extrapolate data from UNOS to assess what the liver transplantation (LT) picture may look like in 2030. Their results/conclusion:
“If donor liver utilization practices remain constant, utilization will fall from 78% to 44% by 2030, resulting in 2230 fewer LTs.” “The transplant community will need to accept inferior grafts and potentially worse post transplant outcomes and/or develop new strategies for increasing organ donation.”
The authors note that the national epidemics of diabetes and obesity will result in more cases of NAFLD-related liver failure while at the same time worsen the quality of available grafts. In the associated editorial, (RH Wiesner, pages 1011-12) the author emphasizes that the future is not quite so set.
- the prevalence of diabetes and obesity in donors for 2030 might not be as great as feared; in addition, medical/surgical advances may diminish the complications associated with obesity
- there will be a marked decrease in transplants due to hepatitis C virus related cirrhosis and hepatocellular cancer
His conclusion: “in the future, we will be using donor livers that we have never used before and will be achieving similar excellent results as we have today.” Which vision of the liver transplantation future is correct?
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