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Liver Transpl. 2015 Mar;21(3):321-8. doi: 10.1002/lt.24071.

Thrombolytic protocol minimizes ischemic-type biliary complications in liver transplantation from donation after circulatory death donors.

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Multi-Organ Transplant Program, Department of Surgery, Toronto General Hospital, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.


Liver transplantation (LT) with donation after circulatory death (DCD) donors has been associated with a high rate of ischemic-type biliary strictures (ITBSs) and inferior graft survival. To investigate the impact of an intraoperative tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) on outcomes following DCD LT, we conducted a retrospective analysis of DCD LT at the Toronto General Hospital (TGH) and the Ochsner Medical Center (OMC). Between 2009 and 2013, 85 DCD LTs were performed with an intraoperative tPA injection (n = 30 at TGH, n = 55 at OMC), and they were compared with 33 DCD LTs without a tPA. Donor and recipient characteristics were similar in the 2 groups. There was no significant difference in the intraoperative packed red blood cell transfusion requirement (3.2 ± 3.4 versus 3.1 ± 2.3 U, P = 0.74). Overall, biliary strictures occurred less commonly in the tPA-treated group (16.5% versus 33.3%, P = 0.07) with a much lower rate of diffuse intrahepatic strictures (3.5% versus 21.2%, P = 0.005). After 1 and 3 years, the tPA group versus the non-tPA group had superior patient survival (97.6% versus 87.0% and 92.7% versus 79.7%, P = 0.016) and graft survival (96.4% versus 69.7% and 90.2% versus 63.6%, P < 0.001). In conclusion, a tPA injection into the hepatic artery during DCD LT reduces ITBSs and improves graft and patient survival without increasing the risk for bleeding.

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