It’s not common for people to reach the 100-year-old milestone. Yet, you might be surprised to learn that your liver possibly could!
Researchers discovered a handful of livers that have actually functioned for more than a century. The study took into consideration the age of adult donors at the time of transplantation and the subsequent lifespan of the recipients. The findings highlighted the impressive longevity of this essential organ.
The resilience of donated livers, with the ability to function for over a century, left scientists intrigued and eager to understand how these organs maintain their vitality long after being transplanted.
First, the team analyzed “pre-transplant survival,” or in other words, the donor’s age. Then, they looked at how long donated livers were able to survive after being transplanted to recipients.
“We stratified out these remarkable livers with over 100-year survival and identified donor factors, recipient factors, and transplant factors involved in creating this unique combination where the liver was able to live to 100 years,” said Yash Kadakia, the study’s lead author and a medical student at the University of Texas.
The researchers gathered data from the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) STARfile to identify livers that had a combined age of at least 100 years, calculated by adding the organ’s age at the time of transplant to its duration of function post-transplant.
Between 1990 and 2022, a total of 254,406 liver transplants were conducted. Among these quarter of a million procedures, 25 livers were classified as centurion livers, signifying that they had functioned for more than 100 years.
The donors of the centurion livers had an average age of 84.7 years, significantly higher than the average age of 38.5 years observed in donors for non-centurion liver transplants. Additionally, those who donated the centurion livers were less prone to diabetes and had fewer instances of donor infections.
“We previously tended to shy away from using livers from older donors,” detailed Christine S. Hwang, the study’s co-author.