Intraoperative measurement of graft blood flow - a necessity in liver transplantation

Authors

  • Allan Rasmussen,

    1. Department of Transplantation V, Rigshospitalet, University of Copenhagen, Blegdamsvej 9, DK-2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark Fax: +4535456511
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  • Allan Hjortrup,

    1. Department of Transplantation V, Rigshospitalet, University of Copenhagen, Blegdamsvej 9, DK-2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark Fax: +4535456511
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  • Preben Kirkegaard

    1. Department of Transplantation V, Rigshospitalet, University of Copenhagen, Blegdamsvej 9, DK-2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark Fax: +4535456511
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Abstract

Abstract Portal venous and hepatic arterial flow was measured intraop-eratively in the 70 most recent patients undergoing liver transplantation in our institution. Impaired graft flow due to vascular abnormalities was detected in six patients. One patient suffered from arterial steal due to stenosis of the recipient celiac trunk with blood shunting from the hepatic to the splenic artery. Ligation of the recipient hepatic artery restored the arterial graft flow. In two patients we found reduced portal venous flow due to large portosystemic collaterals. The collaterals accountable for the impaired portal flow were identified and ligated, which restored portal venous graft flow. Excessive sensitivity of the portal venous flow to the position of the graft was found in a 6-month-old boy. Portal venous flow varied considerably, depending upon the position of the graft, and intraoperative flow measurement allowed the best position of the graft to be identified. Two patients developed arterial thrombosis in the early postoperative course. Immediate laparatomy with thrombectomy resulted in good, palpable pulsation in the graft artery in both patients. Intraoperative flow measurement demonstrated satisfactory arterial flow in one patient, whereas there was no net flow in the other patient's graft artery. Pulsation in this patient was caused by blood oscillating in and out of the liver. In conclusion, we find that causes of primary graft dysfunction due to technically flawed reperfusion of the graft can be identified and alleviated by intraoperative measurement of the flow in the graft vessels.

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