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Transplant Proc. 2007 Jun;39(5):1474-6.

Do laparoscopy and intraoperative ultrasound have a role in the assessment of patients with end-stage liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma for liver transplantation?

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1
Liver Unit, Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Liver transplantation is the treatment of choice for patients with end-stage liver disease (ESLD) and early hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), Routine laparoscopy with intraoperative ultrasound was employed in an attempt to improve patient selection for transplantation. Our aim was to assess whether laparoscopy improved the patient selection with ESLD and HCC being considered for transplantation.

METHODS:

We retrospectively reviewed the clinical notes and transplant database of all patients with ESLD complicated by HCC, being assessed for liver transplantation, from January 2000 to April 2005.

RESULTS:

Twenty-five patients with ESLD and HCC underwent assessment for liver transplantation. Eight were deemed untransplantable on cross-sectional imaging alone. Sixteen patients underwent laparoscopy and intraoperative ultrasound. One patient had undergone a previous segmental hepatectomy and laparoscopy was not technically feasible. At laparoscopy, all 16 patients were found to be free from extrahepatic disease and major vascular involvement. All 16 patients were listed for transplantation. At transplantation, one patient was found to have extrahepatic disease; the procedure was abandoned. One patient was found to have lesser curvature lymphadenopathy, Two patients had major vascular involvement noted in the explanted liver. All these findings were missed on pretransplant imaging and at laparoscopy.

CONCLUSIONS:

As an additional investigation, laparoscopy did not improve staging or alter the management of patients with HCC being assessed for liver transplantation. Since July 2005, we have ceased routine laparoscopic assessment of patients prior to listing. The decision use laparoscopy on patients is now being taken on a more selective basis.

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