Background: Early extubation after liver transplantation (LT) is an increasingly applied safe practice. The aim of the present study was to provide a simple extubation rule for accelerated weaning in the operating room (OR).
Methods: Data of 597 patients transplanted at the LT center of Turin (Italy) were retrospectively analyzed. Fifty-two nonextubated patients (excluding those with a scheduled early reoperation) were compared with 545 successfully extubated patients (not in need of reintubation within the first 48 h). Significant variables at univariate analysis were entered into a logistic regression model and the regression coefficients of independent predictors were used to yield a prognostic score called the safe operating room extubation after liver transplantation (SORELT) score.
Results: Two major and three minor criteria were found. The major ones were blood transfusions (higher than/or equal to 7 U of packed red blood cells) and end of surgery lactate (higher than/or equal to 3.4 mmol/l). The minor ones were status before LT (home vs. hospitalized patient), duration of surgery (longer than/or equal to 5 h), vasoactive drugs at the end of surgery (dopamine higher than 5 μg/kg/min or norepinephrine higher than 0.05 μg/kg/min). Patients who fulfill the SORELT score-derived criteria (fewer than two major/one major plus two minor/three minor criteria) can be considered for OR extubation.
Conclusion: Early extubation after LT requires a very careful assessment of the pre-operative, intraoperative, graft and post-operative care data available. The SORELT score helps as a simple and objective aid in considering such a decision.