Published online Dec 27, 2021. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v13.i12.2161
Peer-review started: March 26, 2021
First decision: June 15, 2021
Revised: June 29, 2021
Accepted: October 17, 2021
Article in press: October 17, 2021
Published online: December 27, 2021
The coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has had a profound worldwide impact. Indeed, it has led to a vast decrease in organ transplantation, including liver transplants (LT). There is little data regarding adjustments made by LT centers as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To assess the experience of LT centers in the United States during the pandemic.
We performed an observational survey study from May 11, 2020 to June 5, 2020. We sent out a 13 question survey to 15 LT centers across the southeastern United States.
Eleven LT centers responded to the survey. We found that (11/11) 100% of transplant centers made adjustments because of the COVID-19 pandemic. At least 50% of transplant centers had at least one transplant recipient infected with COVID-19. To adjust, greater than 50% of centers performed fewer LT, 100% of patients were tested for COVID-19, and most centers implemented a virtual platform.
The COVID-19 pandemic greatly affected liver transplantation in the southeastern United States. It was evident that a concerted effort was made by LT centers to protect their patients and employees from COVID-19 but also to continue the life-saving procedure of LT in this sick patient population. Further studies are needed to assess how LT centers around the world managed the pandemic in order to learn strategies to continue life-saving procedures in this patient population.
Core Tip: The coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic tremendously affected solid organ transplantation around the world, but little information has been published regarding adaptation from transplant centers. We performed a survey study of 11 Liver transplant (LT) centers in the southeastern United States. 100% of transplant centers made adjustments. COVID-19 testing of transplant candidates, virtual clinic visits, and use of remote allocation of staff were among the most commonly utilized strategies. These strategies can be advantageously used in LT centers in the future. We recommend contingency plans be in place in case of future unprecedented states of emergency.