Arterial conduits for hepatic artery revascularisation in adult liver transplantation


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Abstract Arterial complications after orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT), including hepatic artery thrombosis (HAT), are important causes of early graft failure. The use of an arterial conduit is an accepted alternative to the utilisation of native recipient hepatic artery for specific indications. This study aims to determine the efficacy of arterial conduits and the outcome in OLT. We retrospectively reviewed 1,575 cadaveric adult OLTs and identified those in which an arterial conduit was used for hepatic revascularisation. Data on the primary disease, indication for using arterial conduit, type of vascular graft, operative technique and outcome were obtained. Thirty-six (2.3%) patients underwent OLT in which arterial conduits were used for hepatic artery (HA) revascularisation. Six of these were performed on the primary transplant, while the rest (n= 30) were performed in patients undergoing re-transplantation, including six who had developed hepatic artery aneurysms. The incidence of arterial conduits was 0.4% (6/1,426 cases) in all primary OLTs and 20.1% (30/149 cases) in all re-transplants. Twenty-nine procedures utilised iliac artery grafts from the same donor as the liver, six used iliac artery grafts from a different donor, and a single patient underwent a polytetr-fluoroethylene (PTFE) graft. Two techniques were used: infra-renal aorto-hepatic artery conduit and interposition between the donor and recipient native HAs, or branches of the HAs. The 30-day mortality rate for operations using an arterial conduit was 30.6%. Three conduits thrombosed at 9,25 and 155 months, respectively, but one liver graft survived without re-transplantation. The arterial conduits had 1- and 5-year patency rates of 88.5% and 80.8%. The 1- and 5-year patient survival rates were 66.7% and 44%. We can thus conclude that an arterial conduit is a viable alternative option for hepatic revascularisation in both primary and re-transplantation. Despite a lower patency rate than that of native HA in the primary OLT group, the outcomes of arterial conduit patency and patient survival rates are both acceptable at 1 and 5 years, especially in the much larger re-OLT group.