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AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1987 Jun;148(6):1095-8.

Liver transplant rejection: angiographic findings in 35 patients.


Rejection, the leading cause of liver allograft dysfunction, is usually detected by liver biopsy. The purpose of this study was to determine if there are angiographic findings that correlate with this posttransplantation complication. In a retrospective study, the angiograms of 35 patients with histologically proven allograft rejection were reviewed. The examinations were done because of suspected posttransplantation vascular complications. Abnormal hepatic arteriograms were observed in 30 (86%). Eleven (37%) of the 30 had hepatic artery thrombosis (all had acute rejection). Nineteen (63%) of the 30 had varying degrees of intrahepatic arterial narrowing (14 had acute and five had chronic rejection). Additional findings in patients with acute rejection included stretching of the intrahepatic arterial tree (five cases) and slow flow, poor peripheral arterial filling, and a decrease in the number of intrahepatic arteries (10 cases total). Intrahepatic branch vessel stenoses and occlusions were seen in four patients with chronic rejection. We conclude that there is good correlations between the angiographic findings and histologic evidence of rejection. Although angiography is not advocated as a test for transplant rejection, detection of certain findings raises the possibility of rejection.

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