Predictive value of frozen-section analysis in the histological assessment of steatosis before liver transplantation



Histological quality assessment of donated livers is a key factor for extending the cadaveric donor pool for liver transplantation. We retrospectively compared frozen-section analysis with routine histological permanent slides and the outcomes of grafts in liver biopsies from 294 candidate donors. The κ concordance coefficient of agreement between frozen-section analysis and routine histological analysis was very good for macrosteatosis (κ = 0.934), microsteatosis (κ = 0.828), and total steatosis (κ = 0.814). The correlation between the mean amounts of macrosteatosis, microsteatosis, and total steatosis in frozen and permanent sections was also significant (P < 0.001, Spearman's test). Macrosteatosis and microsteatosis were overestimated to >30% in 4 of 32 cases (12.5%) and in 23 of 62 cases (37.1%), respectively. The only 2 histological parameters of frozen sections able to predict graft dysfunction within 7 days of transplantation were macrosteatosis and total steatosis (P = 0.018 and P = 0.015, respectively, Mann-Whitney test). None of the other histopathological features evaluated in frozen sections, including portal inflammation, lobular necrosis, myointimal thickening, biliocyte regression, cholestasis, hepatocellular polymorphism, lipofuscin storage, and fibrous septa, were significantly correlated with the graft outcome. The frozen-section histological evaluation of biopsies from cadaveric liver donors is an accurate, time-effective, and predictive method for the assessment of graft suitability. Liver Transpl 15:1821–1825, 2009. © 2010 AASLD.