Impact of COVID-19 on Liver Transplant Activity in the USA: Variation by Etiology and Cirrhosis Complications

Yong Fang Kuo, Paul Kwo, Robert J. Wong, Ashwani K. Singal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background and Aims: The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the care of patients with liver disease. We ex-amined impact of COVID-19 on liver transplant (LT) activity in the USA. Methods: LT listings in the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) database (April 2018–May 2021) were analyzed to examine the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the LT activity based on etiology: hepatitis C virus (HCV), alcohol-associated liver disease (ALD), alcoholic hepatitis (AH), and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) complications: hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and acute-on-chronic liver failure (ACLF) grade 2 or 3) and Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) score. Joinpoint regression models assessed time trend changes on a log scale. Results: Of 23,871 recipients (8,995 in the COV-ID era, April 2018–February 2020), mean age 52 years, 62% men, 61% Caucasian, 32% ALD, 15% HCC, 30% ACLF grades 2–3, and mean MELD score 20.5), monthly LT changes were a decrease of 3.4% for overall LTs and 22% for HCC after September 2020, and increase of 4.5% for ALD since 11/2020 and 17% since 03/2021 for ACLF grade 2–3. Monthly MELD scores increased by 0.7 and 0.36 after June 2020 for HCV and HCC respectively. Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted LT activity, with a decrease of LTs especially for HCC, and an increase of LTs for ALD and severe ACLF. Strategies are needed to reor-ganize cirrhosis patients to overcome the aftereffects of COVID-19 pandemic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)130-135
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical and Translational Hepatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 28 2023


  • COVID-19
  • OLT
  • Public policies
  • Region
  • UNOS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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