HealthDay News — Liver transplantation (LT) is rarely performed for unauthorized immigrants in the United States, according to a study published online Sept. 20 in Hepatology.

Brian P. Lee, MD, from the University of California in San Francisco, and Norah A. Terrault, MD, MPH, from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, examined the national landscape of LT for unauthorized immigrants. All US LT recipients between March 2012 and December 2018 were included; patients were categorized as unauthorized immigrants vs US citizens/residents.

The researchers found that 99.6% of the 43,192 LT recipients were U.S. citizens/residents and 0.4% were unauthorized immigrants. Most LTs among unauthorized immigrants were performed in California and New York (47 and 18%, respectively). Among states, the absolute difference in the proportion of LTs performed for unauthorized immigrants vs the proportion of unauthorized immigrants among the total population differed, varying from +20 to −12% in California and Texas, respectively. Among LT recipients who were unauthorized immigrants, the most common countries of birth were Mexico, Guatemala, China, El Salvador, and India (52, 7, 6, 5, and 5%, respectively). Similar risks for graft failure and death were seen for unauthorized immigrants vs US citizens/residents.

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“Given these findings of acceptable survival outcomes among unauthorized immigrants, concern for worse survival should not be used as a reason to deny access to liver transplant,” Lee said in a statement. “Continued financial support after transplant also can be a barrier in this group, but those means are confirmed beforehand and also not a reason for denial.”

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