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Abstract

Salvage liver transplantation (SLT), or liver transplantation after liver resection (LR), has been performed after primary LR for many years. However, the true outcomes and risks of SLT versus primary liver transplantation (PLT) remain unclear. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate the survival rate of SLT recipients and the incidence of postoperative complications. Among 2799 screened references, 7 eligible studies were identified. The results of the meta-analysis indicated no statistically significant differences in the overall survival rates of SLT and PLT: the pooled relative risk (RR) was 0.99 [95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.90-1.09, P = 0.87] at 1 year, 0.97 (95% CI = 0.83-1.13, P = 0.68) at 3 years, and 0.96 (95% CI = 0.81-1.13, P = 0.61) at 5 years. As for postoperative complications, there were no statistically significant differences in the incidence of sepsis and biliary complications between SLT and PLT, but there was a significantly higher incidence of bleeding with SLT (RR = 2.84, 95% CI = 1.57-5.13, P = 0.001). In conclusion, the overall survival associated with SLT is similar to that associated with PLT. Because of the limited organ donor pool, SLT might be an acceptable therapy for patients undergoing primary LR for hepatocellular carcinoma. Liver Transpl 18:1316–1323, 2012. © 2012 AASLD.