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Surg Endosc. 1998 Jul;12(7):968-72.

Alterations in hepatic function during laparoscopic surgery. An experimental clinical study.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Discipline Medico-Chirurgiche dell'Universit√† di Torino, Clinica Chirurgica Generale e Oncologica, A.M. Dogliotti, 14, 10126 Torino, Italy.



Very few studies have been done on the consequences of pneumoperitoneum on hepatic function. At present, there is no consensus on the physiopathological hepatic implications of pneumoperitoneum. The purpose of this clinical study was to evaluate the effects of pneumoperitoneum on hepatic function in 52 patients treated with laparoscopic procedures.


Thirty-two laparoscopic cholecystectomies and 20 nonhepatobiliary laparoscopic procedures were performed in 52 patients (12 men and 40 women) with a mean age of 44 years (range, 15-74). All patients had normal values on preoperative liver function tests. The anesthesiologic protocol was uniform, with drugs at low hepatic metabolism. The 32 cholecystectomies were randomized into 22 performed with pneumoperitoneum at 14 mmHg and 10 performed at 10 mmHg. All nonhepatobiliary laparoscopic procedures were performed with a pneumoperitoneum of 14 mmHg. The postoperative serologic levels of AST, ALT, bilirubin, and prothrombin time were measured at 6, 24, 48, and 72 h. The serologic changes were related to the procedure, the duration, and the level of pneumoperitoneum.


Mortality and morbidity were nil. All 52 patients had a postoperative increase in AST, ALT, bilirubin, and lengthening in prothrombin time. Slow return to normality occurred 48 or 72 h after operation. The increase of AST and ALT was statistically significant and correlated both to the level (10 versus 14 mmHg) and the duration of pneumoperitoneum.


The duration and level of intraabdominal pressure are responsible for changes of hepatic function during laparoscopic procedures. Although no symptom appears in patients with normal hepatic function, patients with severe hepatic failure should probably not be subjected to prolonged laparoscopic procedures.

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