Female liver transplant recipients outlive men given the same procedure by an average of 4.5 years, suggests research published ahead of print in Gut.
And while younger people tend to live longest of all, they also stand to lose more years of their life compared with those who have not had liver transplants, the research shows.
The research team assessed the life expectancy and years of life lost of 2702 people who had received a liver transplant between 1985 and 2003, and who had survived more than six months afterwards..
The information was taken from the National Transplant Database, held by UK Transplant, and compared with that from healthy people matched for age and sex.
The analysis showed that, on average, after reaching the critical six month period, survival time for liver transplant recipients was 22 years compared with 29 years for the general population.
The life expectancy of male liver transplant recipients was 18 years compared with 26 years for women.
This compares with 27 years for men and 31 years for women in the general population, equating to twice as many years of life lost for male transplant recipients compared with their female counterparts.
Those aged between 17 and 34 had the highest life expectancy of 28 years after a liver transplant. But this compares with a life expectancy of 51 years for their peers in the general population.
Transplant recipients with primary liver disease fared significantly better than those undergoing the procedure because of hepatitis C infection, cirrhosis, or cancer.
The authors note that while one year survival rates have increased over time, death rates beyond this period have remained more or less the same.
They attribute this to the types of patients undergoing the procedure, who now include older, sicker patients, as well as the use of more “marginal” livers.