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HPB (Oxford). 2008;10(5):311-4. doi: 10.1080/13651820802074431.

Thrombotic complications following liver resection for colorectal metastases are preventable.

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  • 1Department of Hepatobiliary and Transplant Surgery, St James's University Hospital, Leeds, Yorkshire, UK.



Surgery for colorectal liver metastases (CRLM) can be expected to be associated with a significant rate of thromboembolic complications due to the performance of long-duration oncologic resections in patients aged 60 years.


To determine the prevalence of clinically significant thrombotic complications, including deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolus (PE), in a contemporary series of patients undergoing resection of CRLM with standard prophylaxis.


A prospectively maintained database identified patients undergoing resection of CRLM from January 2000 to March 2007 and highlighted those developing thromboembolic complications. In addition, the radiology department database was reviewed to ensure that clinically suspicious thromboses had been confirmed radiologically by ultrasound in the case of DVT or computed tomography for PEs.


During the period of the study, 523 patients (336 M and 187 F) with a mean age of 65 years underwent resection. A major hepatectomy was performed in 59.9%. One or more complications were seen in 45.1% (n=236) of patients. Thrombotic complications were seen in 11 (2.1%) patients: DVT alone (n=4) and PE (n=7). Eight of 11 thrombotic complications occurred in patients undergoing major hepatectomy, 4 of which were trisectionectomies. Patients were anti-coagulated and there were no mortalities.


The symptomatic thromboembolic complication rate was lower in this cohort than may be expected in patients undergoing non-hepatic abdominal surgery. It is uncertain whether this is due entirely to effective prophylaxis or to a combination of treatment and a natural anti-coagulant state following hepatic resection.

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