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Abstract

The incidence, clinical presentation, therapeutic options, and outcome of hepatic artery thrombosis (HAT) were analyzed in a series of 1,192 consecutive adult orthotopic liver transplantations (OLTs). HAT after OLT was observed in 30 cases, resulting in an incidence of 2.5%. The incidence of HAT increased 5.76-fold when the donor hepatic artery was reconstructed with an interposition graft to the supraceliac aorta (P < .05). Early HAT (within the first 30 days after OLT) occurred in 14 of these patients (46.7%), whereas in 16 patients (53.3%), HAT occurred beyond 30 days post-OLT. Clinical presentation of HAT ranged from an increase in serum transaminase levels with or without cholestasis to liver abscess and biliary complications, including cholangitis, bile duct stenosis or necrosis, to liver dysfunction and failure. Impairment of graft function was observed in patients with early HAT, whereas biliary tract destruction was seen more often in patients with late HAT. In only 1 patient was HAT clinically asymptomatic. Therapy consisted of recombinant plasminogen lysis with hepaticojejunostomy, liver abscess drainage, endoscopy or surveillance, and surgical thrombectomy. In 14 of 30 patients (46.7%), the occurrence of HAT required re-OLT. Nine patients with HAT died during follow-up; however, only 4 of these deaths were related to HAT, resulting in a mortality rate of 13.3%. Our results indicate that HAT is a rare but serious complication after OLT, requiring re-OLT in almost 50% of patients. In particular, conservative treatment modalities may significantly prolong graft survival, thus postponing re-OLT