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Keywords:

  • hepatic artery thrombosis;
  • living donor;
  • pediatric liver transplantation;
  • surgical complications

Abstract:  The risk of hepatic artery thrombosis (HAT) after pediatric liver transplantation (PLT) has been reported to range from 0 to 25%. We report our experience focusing on the interrelationships between risk factors, surgical technique and the incidence of HAT after liver transplantation in the pediatric age group. From February 18, 1997 to December 31, 2003, 150 consecutive liver transplants were performed in 132 pediatric patients. There were similar numbers of whole grafts when compared with partial grafts, 80 (53.3%) vs. 70 (46.7%), p = 0.30. Four grafts (2.7%) developed HAT. Of the grafts with HAT, three were successfully revascularized within the first 24 h. Only one graft (0.66%) was lost to HAT. A single surgeon utilizing 3.5–6.0 magnification loupes performed all but one hepatic arterial anastomoses. All patients were followed postoperatively by a daily ultrasound protocol and with anticoagulation of aspirin and alprostadil only. Living and deceased donor left lateral segment grafts had an increased rate of HAT when compared with whole liver grafts. HAT with subsequent graft loss may be minimized in PLT with the use of surgical loupes only, anticoagulation utilizing aspirin, alprostadil, and daily ultrasounds.