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Clin Radiol. 1992 Jul;46(1):38-42.

Duplex Doppler ultrasound for the detection of vascular occlusion following liver transplantation in children.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, Addenbrookes's Hospital, Cambridge.


Sixty-three children and adolescent patients who received 78 consecutive orthotopic liver transplants and had serial duplex ultrasound monitoring were retrospectively reviewed for episodes of occlusion of the hepatic artery or portal vein. There were 13 documented episodes of complete occlusion of the main hepatic artery or a major branch, of which nine were diagnosed by the absence of flow during duplex ultrasound examination. Four occlusions were not detected, two affected hepatic artery branches, one an accessory hepatic artery, and one the main hepatic artery. The overall sensitivity of the method was 69% and specificity 100%. Six portal vein occlusions were documented in five patients and all six were successfully diagnosed on ultrasound examination, giving a sensitivity and specificity of 100%. Three of the patients had simultaneous occlusions of both vessels. In the early post-operative period duplex Doppler ultrasound examination has proved an effective non-invasive method for the detection of vascular occlusion, but is not yet sensitive enough to replace angiography fully for the detection of hepatic artery occlusion, particularly when this occurs distal to the main hepatic artery.

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