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Anaesthesia. 2012 Oct;67(10):1091-100. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2044.2012.07198.x.

A comparison of intra-operative blood loss and acid-base balance between vasopressor and inotrope strategy during living donor liver transplantation: a randomised, controlled study.

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Department of Anaesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Seoul St. Mary's Hospital, Seoul, Korea.

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  • Anaesthesia. 2013 Feb;68(2):225.


Administration of vasopressors or inotropes during liver transplant surgery is almost universal, as this procedure is often accompanied by massive haemorrhage, acid-base imbalance, and cardiovascular instability. However, the actual agents that should be used and the choice between a vasopressor and an inotrope strategy are not clear from existing published evidence. In this prospective, randomised, controlled and single-blinded study, we compared the effects of a vasopressor strategy on intra-operative blood loss and acid-base status with those of an inotrope strategy during living donor liver transplantation. Seventy-six adult liver recipients with decompensated cirrhosis were randomly assigned to receive a continuous infusion of either phenylephrine at a dose of 0.3-0.4 μ or dopamine and/or dobutamine at 2-8 μ during surgery. Vascular resistance was higher over time in the phenylephrine group than in the dopamine/dobutamine group. Estimated blood loss was significantly lower in the phenylephrine group than in the dopamine/dobutamine group (mean (SD) 4.5 (1.8) l vs 6.1 (3.4) l, respectively, p=0.011). Patients in the phenylephrine group had lower lactate levels in the late pre-anhepatic and the early anhepatic phase and needed less bicarbonate administration than those in the dopamine/dobutamine group (median (IQR [range]) 40 (0-100 [0-160]) mEq vs 70 (40-163 [0-260]) mEq, respectively, p=0.018). Postoperative clinical outcomes and laboratory-measured hepatic and renal function did not differ between the groups. Increased vascular resistance and reduction of portal blood flow by intra-operative phenylephrine infusion is assumed to decrease the amount of intra-operative bleeding and thereby ameliorate the progression of lactic acidosis during liver transplant surgery.

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