An empirically informed analysis of the ethical issues surrounding split liver transplantation in the United Kingdom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • NHS Blood and Transplant, Bristol, UK
  • Queen Elizabeth Hosp


Surgical advances have allowed for the development of split liver transplantation, providing two recipients with the opportunity to potentially benefit from one donated liver by splitting the liver into two usable parts. Although current data suggest that the splitting of livers provides overall benefit to the liver-recipient population, relatively low numbers of livers are actually split in the United Kingdom. This article addresses the question of whether ethical concerns are posing an unnecessary barrier to further increasing the number of life-saving transplantations. Recognizing that an important aspect of exploring these concerns is gaining insight into how transplant staff and patients regard splitting livers, the article presents the findings of a qualitative study examining the views of senior transplant staff and liver transplant patients in the UK and uses these to inform a commentary on the ethical issues relating to split liver transplantation.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)435-447
JournalCambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics
Issue number3
Early online date27 Jun 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Jun 2016