• haemostasis;
  • liver function;
  • liver transplantation

ABSTRACT— In a prospective study involving 25 consecutive adult orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) patients, of whom 23 had cirrhosis, we have related pretrans-plantation recipient parameters to blood loss during transplantation. In phase I (explantation of diseased liver) blood loss was 0.1–7.2 1, in phase 3 (following restoration of the portal blood flow after implantation) 0.1–39.7 1, and total blood loss was 1.6–47.2, median 9.21. Five patients (20%) died from causes directly related to defective haemostasis during the operation. Pretransplantation cholinesterase, antithrombin III and albumin correlated most strongly with blood loss in phase 1; a history of ascites, antithrombin III and cholinesterase levels correlated with blood loss in phase 3, and a history of ascites, urinary sodium and antithrombin III with total blood loss. Cholestasis did not influence blood loss. Portal hypertension per se presumably played only a restricted role. A pretransplant 24-h urinary sodium excretion of 10 mmol or less and a serum sodium of 132 mmol/1 or less were highly predictive of blood loss exceeding 10 1 during OLT. Urinary sodium determination under test conditions and serum sodium measurement should already be part of the assessment of potential OLT candidates by the referring hospital.