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Ann Surg. 2006 Dec;244(6):921-8; discussion 928-30.

A prospective, randomized, controlled trial comparing intermittent portal triad clamping versus ischemic preconditioning with continuous clamping for major liver resection.

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Swiss Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary (HPB) Center, Department of Visceral & Transplantation Surgery, University Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland.



To evaluate whether ischemic preconditioning (IP) with continuous clamping or intermittent clamping (IC) of the portal triad confers better protection during liver surgery.


IP and IC are distinct protective approaches against ischemic injury. Since both strategies proved to be superior in randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to continuous inflow occlusion alone, we designed a RCT to compare IP and IC in patients undergoing major liver resection.


Noncirrhotic patients undergoing major liver resection were randomized to receive IP with inflow occlusion (n = 36) or IC (n = 37). Primary endpoints were postoperative liver injury and intraoperative blood loss. Postoperative liver injury was assessed by peak values of AST (alanine aminotransferase) and ALT (aspartate aminotransferase), as well as the area under the curve (AUC) of the postoperative transaminase course. Secondary endpoints included resection time, the need of blood transfusion, ICU, and hospital stay as well as postoperative complications and mortality.


Both groups were comparable regarding demographics, ASA score, type of hepatectomy, duration of inflow occlusion (range, 30-75 minutes), and resection surface. The transection-related blood loss was 146 versus 250 mL (P = 0.008), and when standardized to the resection surface 1.2 versus 1.8 mL/cm (P = 0.01) for IP and IC, respectively. Although peak AST, AUCAST, and AUCALT were lower for IC, the differences did not reach statistical significance. Overall (42% vs. 38%) and major (33 vs. 27%) postoperative complications as well as median ICU (1 vs. 1 day) and hospital stay (10 vs. 11 days) were similar between both groups.


Both IP and IC appear to be equally effective in protecting against postoperative liver injury in noncirrhotic patients undergoing major liver resection. However, IP is associated with lower blood loss and shorter transection time. Therefore, both strategies can be recommended for noncirrhotic patients undergoing liver resection.

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