Endovascular treatment of hepatic artery thrombosis following liver transplantation


Vivek Kohli, Nazih Zuhdi Transplant Institute, INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center, 3300 NW Expressway, Oklahoma City, OK 73112, USA. Tel.: 001-405-949-3349; fax: 001-405-945-5844; e-mail: vivek.kohli@integrisok.com


Hepatic artery thrombosis (HAT) is the most frequent vascular complication following orthotopic liver transplantation. Urgent retransplantation has been considered as the mainstay therapy. Surgical revascularization is an effective alternative in asymptomatic patients. Endovascular therapies including intra-arterial thrombolysis, percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (PTA), and stent placement have shown encouraging results in recent years; however, their use remains controversial because of potential risk of hemorrhage. Until June 2009, 69 cases were published in 16 reports describing therapeutic potential of endovascular modalities. Interventions were performed as early as within 4 h to as late as 120 days in patients ranging from 4 months to 64 years of age. Majority of published reports suggested the use of urokinase. Thrombolysis was successful in 47 out of 69 (68%) patients. Bleeding was the most common complication including fatal intra-abdominal hemorrhage in three patients. Twenty-nine out of 47 (62%) patients underwent further intervention in the form of PTA, stenting, or both. The follow-up patency ranged from 1 month to 26 months. In conclusion, whenever possible, efforts should be made to rescue the liver grafts through urgent revascularization (surgical and/or endovascular) depending on patient’s condition and interventional expertise at the transplant center; reserving the option of retransplantation for failure, complications, and cases with severe clinical symptoms or allograft dysfunction.