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Clin Transplant. 2010 Jan-Feb;24(1):122-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-0012.2009.01118.x. Epub 2009 Oct 15.

Two-stage liver transplantation: an effective procedure in urgent conditions.

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Liver and Multivisceral Transplant Centre, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy.


Temporary portocaval shunt and total hepatectomy is a technique used in the presence of toxic liver syndrome because of fulminant hepatic failure, hepatic trauma, primary non-function (PNF), and eclampsia. We performed this technique on four patients. An indication for anhepatic state was severe hemodynamic instability in three of them. Etiologies of these three patients were as follows: PNF after liver transplantation, ischemic hepatitis after right hepatic artery embolization, and massive reperfusion syndrome during a liver transplantation. In the fourth patient, during the liver transplantation when hepatic artery was ligated, a kidney carcinoma in the donor graft was discovered. We decided to complete the hepatectomy and to construct a temporary portocaval shunt. Mean anhepatic phases were 19 h and 15 min. All patients survived the two-stage liver transplantation procedure without major complications. Our cases demonstrated that temporary portocaval shunt while awaiting urgent liver transplantation could be an effective "bridge" in selected patients who develop toxic liver syndrome; however, a short time between portocaval shunt and transplantation and careful intensive care managements are mandatory.

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