In this study, we compared results of 28 liver transplants performed in 25 patients referred through the Veterans Administration with 82 transplants performed in 75 nonveteran patients. The evaluation and follow-up care was provided by the same team of physicians and nurses and the transplant procedure performed in the same hospital for both patient groups. There was a significantly greater incidence of hepatitis C and/or previous alcohol abuse in veteran compared with non-VA patients [23/25 (92%) vs 29/75 (39%); P < 0.05] and a greater incidence of native portal vein thrombosis [6/25 (24%) vs 2/75 (2.6%); P < 0.01], but no difference in Child's-Pugh score (10.8 vs 9.9) or UNOS listing status (mean status 2.7 vs 2.8). The increased incidence of native portal vein thrombosis did not appear to be solely related to previous alcohol abuse or hepatitis C, since only 1 of 29 (3.4%) non-VA patients with these etiologies had this finding. There was no difference in patient or graft survival between the VA and non-VA groups with overall actuarial 6-, 12-, and 18-month patient survival of 86, 84, and 83% and graft survival of 80, 78, and 77%. There was no difference in major complication rates but there was a significantly longer average hospital stay (27 ± 31 vs 18 ± 12 days; P < 0.05) in the VA compared with non-VA group. One patient with native portal vein thrombosis in the non-VA group developed portal vein thrombosis in the postoperative period. There was no documented recidivism in any patient with a history of prior substance abuse in either group. This study confirms that veteran patients have a higher incidence of hepatitis C and previous alcohol abuse as causes of liver disease, have a higher incidence of native portal vein thrombosis, and have longer mean hospital stays, but experience the same survival in the first 18 months compared with nonveteran patients.