Background: The outcome of orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) with controlled graft donation after cardiac death (DCD) is usually inferior to that with graft donation after brain death (DBD). This study compared outcomes from OLT with DBD versus controlled DCD donors with predefined restrictive acceptance criteria. Methods: All adult recipients in the Netherlands in 2001-2006 with full-size OLT from DCD (n = 55) and DBD (n = 471) donors were included. Kaplan-Meier, log rank and Cox regression analyses were used. Results: One- and 3-year patient survival rates were similar for DCD (85 and 80 per cent) and DBD (86.3 and 80.8 per cent) transplants (P = 0.763), as were graft survival rates (74 and 68 per cent versus 80.4 and 74.5 per cent; P = 0.212). The 3-year cumulative percentage of surviving grafts developing non-anastomotic binary strictures was 31 per cent after DCD and 9.7 per cent after DBD transplantation (P < 0.001). The retransplantation rate was similar overall (P = 0.081), but that for biliary stricture was higher in the DCD group (P < 0.001). Risk factors for I-year graft loss after DBD our were transplant centre, recipient warm ischaemia time and donor with severe head trauma. After DCD OLT they were transplant centre, donor warm ischaemia time and cold ischaemia time. DCD graft was a risk factor for non-anastomotic biliary stricture. Conclusion: OLT using controlled DCD grafts and restrictive criteria can result in patient and graft survival rates similar to those of DBD OLT, despite a higher risk of binary stricture.