Global liver transplantation: emerging trends and ethical challenges

Angela L. Hill, Maryam Khan, Amen Z. Kiani, Jessica D. Lindemann, Neeta Vachharajani, Majella B. Doyle, William C. Chapman, Adeel S. Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: Liver transplant (LT) is the only definitive treatment for end-stage liver disease (ESLD). This review aims to explore current global LT practices, with an emphasis on challenges and disparities that limit access to LT in different regions of the world. Methods: A detailed analysis was performed of present-day liver transplant practices throughout the world, including the etiology of liver disease, patient access to transplantation, surgical costs, and ongoing ethical concerns. Results: Annually, only 10% of the patients needing a liver transplant receive an organ. Currently, the USA performs the highest volume of liver transplants worldwide, followed by China and Brazil. In both North America and Europe, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is becoming the most common indication for LT, compared to hepatitis B and C in most Asian, South American, and African countries. While deceased donor liver transplant remains the most performed type of LT, living donor liver transplant is becoming increasingly popular in some parts of the world where it is often the only option due to a lack of well-developed infrastructure for deceased organ donation. Ethical concerns in liver transplantation fundamentally revolve around the definition of a deceased donor and the exploitation of living donor liver donation systems. Conclusion: Globally, liver transplant practices and outcomes are varied, with differences driven by healthcare policies, inequities in healthcare access, and ethical concerns.

Original languageEnglish
Article number418
JournalLangenbeck's Archives of Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023


  • Donor ethics
  • Global surgery
  • Liver transplant
  • Organ allocation
  • Transplant access


Dive into the research topics of 'Global liver transplantation: emerging trends and ethical challenges'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this