Postreperfusion biopsies are useful in predicting complications after liver transplantation



Biliary complications after orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) may occur because of preservation injury (PI). In this study, we examine findings on routine reperfusion biopsy specimens in relation to the occurrence of biliary complications and graft outcome. From 1997 to 2000, a total of 193 OLTs were performed in our center. Postreperfusion biopsy specimens were analyzed and histological lesions were graded. For analysis, grafts were grouped into 2 categories: the presence or absence of PI (severe to moderate lesions versus mild or no lesions). Histological evidence of PI was present in 17% of the biopsy specimens. The incidence of grafts with PI and ischemia time longer than 12 hours was 38% compared with 14% in PI and short ischemia time (P = .02). Biliary complications were also more frequent in the PI group (28% v 14%; P = .03). Study of risk factors by means of logistic regression analysis confirmed that the PI group had a greater risk for biliary complications (relative risk, 2.8; 95% confidence interval, 1 to 7.4; P = .03). Moreover, moderate macrovesicular steatosis was found in 6% of the grafts, resulting in a 40% graft loss rate. We found that an increased presence of neutrophilic infiltrates in the postreperfusion biopsy specimen, indicating PI, was related to an increased incidence of biliary complications. Moreover, moderate macrovesicular steatosis was associated with increased graft loss. Therefore, postreperfusion biopsies are useful in anticipating post-OLT complications.