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Transplant Proc. 2003 Jun;35(4):1447-8.

Hepatic artery thrombosis in pediatric liver transplantation.

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Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA.



Children have been reported to be at greater risk for hepatic artery thrombosis when compared to adults due to small arterial size, nonuse of intraoperative microscope, and postoperative hypercoagulable state.


We evaluated arterial anastomosis type, intraoperative field magnification, and hepatic artery complications and how they were managed. All patients underwent ultrasound, anticoagulation consisted of 41 mg aspirin once a day, and 35 patients received alprostadil (PGE) for the first 7 days after transplantation. No patients were administered intravenous heparin following liver transplantation.


Of the 74 livers transplanted, 36 grafts (48.6%) were whole organ transplants and 38 grafts (51.4%) were partial livers. We observed HAT in 1 of 74 (1.35%) transplants in our pediatric liver transplant population. The only patient with HAT was a young girl with a history of biliary atresia. The occurrence of a hepatic artery thrombosis on day 7 was caused by the migration of an intimal plaque dissection within the artery graft. She was emergently taken back into the operating room for graft revision. This individual currently has a survival time of 426 days following her last transplant.


Hepatic artery thrombosis may be minimized in pediatric liver transplantation without the use of microsurgery. Anticoagulation utilizing ASA and alprostadil is sufficient to avoid HAT. Accurate use of ultrasound is crucial to avoid this complication. Graft and patient salvage is possible with expedient surgical treatment; microsurgery, anticoagulant therapy, site of arterial inflow, and recipient size and weight.

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