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Abstract

Severe ischemia/reperfusion (IR) injury is associated with poor hepatic microperfusion. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of hepatic artery flow (HAF) and portal vein flow (PVF) in IR injury. From January 2004 to June 2008, 566 patients underwent orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT). The data were retrospectively reviewed via the transplant database. Patients with hepatic artery (HA) or portal vein (PV) thrombosis and retransplant patients were excluded. Intraoperative PVF and HAF values and graft weights were measured routinely, and the central venous pressure, mean arterial pressure, cardiac output, and cardiac index were recorded with hepatic blood flow measurements. Complete data were available for 312 primary OLT recipients (215 males and 97 females; mean age = 54 ± 10 years). The patients' follow-up ranged from 215 to 1746 days (705 ± 408 days). IR injury was defined by the aspartate aminotransferase (AST) level on postoperative day (POD) 2, and the patients were divided into 3 groups: (1) mild IR injury [AST < 500 U/L; n = 160 (51%)], (2) moderate IR injury [AST = 500-1000 U/L; n = 85 (27%)], and (3) severe IR injury [AST > 1000 U/L; n = 67 (21%)]. The demographics and pre-OLT variables (the Model for End-Stage Liver Disease score (MELD), platelet counts, PV thrombosis, transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunts, and shunts on computed tomography scans) were similar in all groups. The graft survival rate was 99% in group 1, 95.2% in group 2 (P = 0.02), and 92.3% in group 3 (P = 0.016). The patient survival rates were similar in the 3 groups. The cold ischemia time (CIT) was significantly higher in group 3 versus group 1 (P < 0.007). In the statistical analysis, low HAF, PVF, total liver blood flow (TLBF), and augmented HAF values were associated with a greater likelihood of elevated AST levels on POD 2. The strongest univariate predictors of AST were reduced augmented HAF (mL/minute/100 g) values (P < 0.001) and reduced TLBF (mL/minute/100 g) values (P < 0.001). In a covariate analysis with adjustments for CIT and donor variables, the blood flow parameters remained important predictors of graft function. In conclusion, this report demonstrates for the first time that reduced hepatic blood flow is a significant finding in patients with severe hepatic IR injury. Liver Transpl, 2011. © 2011 AASLD.