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Transplant Proc. 2010 Mar;42(2):647-8. doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2010.02.007.

Is liver transplantation without abdominal drainage safe?

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General and Digestive Surgery Service, HPB and Liver Transplant Unit, University Hospital Carlos Haya, Malaga, Spain.


This observational, analytical cohort consisted of 35 consecutive liver transplant (OLT) patients with no intra-abdominal drain and a control cohort of 35 subjects operated immediately before the former who had placement of an intra-abdominal drain. We sought to assess the impact of abdominal drainage on the diagnosis and prevention of early postoperative complications: hemoperitoneum, reinterventions, biliary leaks, or percutaneous drainage. We assessed variables related to the recipient (age, indication, pretransplant ascites, body mass index, Model for End-Stage Liver Disease score and rejection), the donor (age, steatosis, ischemia time) and intra- and postoperative factors (surgery time, blood product use, and coagulopathy). The end point was defined as the need for a reintervention, paracentesis, appearance, and drainage of collections as well as lengths of hospital and intensive care unit (ICU) stays. The postoperative ICU and in-hospital stays were similar between groups (3.7 vs 3.9 days and 12 vs 14 days, respectively). Two patients in the group with drainage were reoperated due to hemoperitoneum, whereas we did not reoperate any patients in the group without drainage. No patient from either group developed a biliary fistula or required drainage of an intra-abdominal collections. The need for paracentesis was greater among the group without drainage (23% vs 5.7%; P < .04) and among those with a prior history of severe ascites. Patients with drainage displayed a greater incidence of perihepatic hematomas by ultrasound (53% vs 21%; P < .08) and required more postoperative blood products, especially platelets (P > .04) and plasma (P < .01).


OLT without intra-abdominal drainage is safe, not increasing morbidity. It seems likely that drainage may be responsible for intra-abdominal hematomas and greater consumption of blood products.

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