• Liver transplantation;
  • outcome;
  • preservation injury;
  • retransplantation;
  • survival

Several advances in organ preservation have allowed for improved results after liver transplantation; however, little information is available regarding the clinical impact of preservation injury on the postoperative course. The medical records of 889 liver transplants were retrospectively reviewed. Preservation injury was classified according to postoperative aspartate aminotransferase values as minor (<1000 U/L), moderate (1000–5000 U/L), or severe (>5000 U/L). The following criteria were analyzed and compared according to the extent of preservation injury: patient and graft survival, retransplantation rate, duration of hospitalization and postoperative ventilation, as well as incidence of rejection, infection, and hemodialysis. The majority of patients received a liver with minor preservation injury (75.9%), whereas 22.7% and 1.3% of grafts showed moderate or severe injury. Graft survival was significantly lower in patients with severe preservation injury, when compared to minor or moderate injury. The relative risk for initial nonfunction was 39.36-fold increased (95% confidence interval (ci): 10.3–150.2), as it was increased for duration of postoperative ventilation (6.92-fold; 95%ci: 2.1–22.3) and hemodialysis (6.13-fold; 95%ci: 1.9–19.3). Since the incidence of retransplantation was significantly increased (50%), patient survival remained comparable between all groups. Severe preservation injury had a tremendous impact on the postoperative clinical course, requiring the maximum medical effort to achieve adequate patient survival.