BACKGROUND: Infectious complications occur in approximately 50% of cadaveric liver transplant (CDLT) recipients. Living-donor liver transplantation (LDLT) is an established alternative to shorten the waiting time. Currently, the incidence of pulmonary infections after LDLT and the microbiologic causes are unknown. In the present cohort study, we compared the incidence and profiles of pulmonary and blood stream infections (BSI) between LDLT and CDLT recipients. We hypothesized a lower incidence in LDLT recipients. METHODS: The clinical course of 55 LDLT recipients consecutively transplanted between January 2003 and December 2006 was analyzed. The 173 CDLT recipients who were transplanted in the same period served as a control group. Patients were treated in a single Intensive Care Unit, applying standardized postoperative care. RESULTS: Mean model for end-stage liver disease score did not differ between LDLT and CDLT recipients (14.2 vs. 13.3). The overall incidence of pulmonary and BSI for both groups was 8% and 24%, respectively. Pulmonary infections were experienced by 18% of LDLT versus 5% of CDLT recipients (P=0.005) and BSI occurred in 33% of LDLT versus 21% of CDLT recipients (P=0.1). CONCLUSIONS: In contrast to our hypothesis, LDLT recipients experienced significantly more pulmonary infections and a trend toward increased higher incidence of BSI. These findings emphasize the need for future research on the causative agents and prevention of infection in LDLT recipients. The observation that patients with pulmonary infection had a significantly reduced 1-year survival rate underscores the importance of our observations.