Ligation of left renal vein for large spontaneous splenorenal shunt to prevent portal flow steal in adult living donor liver transplantation


Sung-Gyu Lee MD, FACS, Division of Hepatobiliary Surgery and Liver Transplantation, Department of Surgery, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, 388-1 Pungnap-dong, Songpa-gu, Seoul 138-736, Korea. Tel.: +82 2 3010 3485; fax: +82 2 474 9027; e-mail:


Persistance of a large spontaneous splenorenal shunt (SRS) may result in graft failure in adult living donor liver transplantation (LDLT) because it reduces the effective portal perfusion to the partial liver graft by diversion of hepatotrophic portal flow into this hepatofugal pathway. We performed a prospective study to evaluate the efficacy of ligation of left renal vein (LRV) to prevent portal flow steal and the safety of this procedure to the renal function in adult LDLT patients with SRS. Between October 2001 and January 2005, 44 cirrhotic patients with large SRS underwent LDLT with ligation of LRV. Each patient received pre- and postoperative computed tomography and Doppler USG to assess the changes of collaterals and portal flow, as well as serial renal and liver function tests. Portal flow after ligation of LRV was statistically and significantly increased when compared with pre-operative value (P = 0.001). Whereas four patients (9.1%) demonstrated sustained, elevated serum creatinine levels after operation, the renal function tests returned to normal in 40 patients. All patients recovered with satisfactory regeneration of the partial liver graft and there was no procedure-related permanent renal dysfunction. In conclusion, ligation of LRV to prevent a ‘portal steal phenomenon’ seems to be a safe and effective graft salvage procedure for large spontaneous SRS (>10-mm diameter) in adult LDLT.