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Liver Transpl. 2001 Oct;7(10):904-11.

Temporary portocaval shunt during liver transplantation with vena cava preservation. Results of a prospective randomized study.

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Department of Surgery, Hospital Prínceps d'Espanya, Ciudad Sanitaria y Universitaria (CSU) de Bellvitge, University of Barcelona, Spain.


This study aims to determine whether the use of a temporary portocaval shunt (PCS) improves hemodynamic and metabolic evolution during orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT). Preservation of the vena cava during OLT has gained wide acceptance. However, benefits of adding a temporary PCS to the piggyback technique during the anhepatic phase in patients with cirrhosis have not been shown. Eighty patients with cirrhosis were studied prospectively. They were randomly distributed into two groups: patients with a temporary PCS (n = 40) and those without a PCS (n = 40). In all cases, the piggyback technique was used. Hemodynamic profiles and biochemical data during OLT and clinical evolution after OLT were evaluated. Preoperative data were similar in both groups. Surgical time also was similar (403 +/- 77 v 387 +/- 56 minutes; P = .3). Red blood cell requirements were lower in the PCS group (2.3 +/- 2.5 v 3.3 +/- 2.9 units), although differences were not significant. In the PCS group, 45% of patients did not need red blood cell transfusion, whereas in the other group, only 22% were not administered a transfusion (P = .03). During the anhepatic phase, the decrease in cardiac output was lower in the PCS group (-9.6% v -19%; P = .05), whereas diuresis during the anhepatic phase was greater in the PCS group (3.6 +/- 2.97 v 2.1 +/- 1.38 mL/kg/h; P = .005). There were no differences in liver biochemical parameters during the first 3 postoperative days. Nevertheless, creatinine levels increased significantly during this period only in the no-PCS group. The use of a temporary PCS during OLT improves hemodynamic status, reduces intraoperative transfusion requirements, and preserves renal function during and after OLT.

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