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Keywords:

  • children – hepatic artery – liver transplantation – thrombosis

Abstract: Hepatic artery thrombosis (HAT) is a devastating complication that may occur after orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT). A higher incidence has been reported in children. Salvage of the graft by thrombectomy has been suggested as an alternative to re-transplantation. In this study we report the outcome of three children who underwent thrombectomy for HAT. Between January 1992 and June 1998, 14 children (< 17 yrs of age) underwent liver transplantation. Three developed HAT (one a whole-liver graft recipient, age 17; two living-related graft recipients, ages 4 and 4.5 yr). In the first patient, thrombosis of the hepatic artery was associated with scattered areas of parenchymal necrosis on computed tomography. In the two living-related patients, HAT was found incidentally during re-exploration for bleeding (day 2 and day 10). Thrombectomy was performed in all three patients. At 18–24 months after thrombectomy, all three children had normal graft function. In the first patient, complete regeneration of the liver has been documented by computed tomography and a late asymptomatic recurrent thrombosis is suggested by absence of arterial flow on Doppler examination. The hepatic artery is patent in the two living-related recipients. One of these living-related recipients developed ischemic bile duct stricture and underwent successful percutaneous balloon dilatation. We conclude that long-term normal graft function can be achieved by thrombectomy in pediatric liver recipients with HAT, even in the presence of limited parenchymal damage.