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Hepatobiliary Surg Nutr. 2016 Feb;5(1):58-71. doi: 10.3978/j.issn.2304-3881.2015.07.05.

How much ischemia can the liver tolerate during resection?

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Department of Surgery, Surgical Laboratory, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.


The use of vascular inflow occlusion (VIO, also known as the Pringle maneuver) during liver surgery prevents severe blood loss and the need for blood transfusion. The most commonly used technique for VIO entails clamping of the portal triad, which simultaneously occludes the proper hepatic artery and portal vein. Although VIO is an effective technique to reduce intraoperative blood loss, it also inevitably inflicts hepatic ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury as a side effect. I/R injury induces formation of reactive oxygen species that cause oxidative stress and cell death, ultimately leading to a sterile inflammatory response that causes hepatocellular damage and liver dysfunction that can result in acute liver failure in most severe cases. Since the duration of ischemia correlates positively with the severity of liver injury, there is a need to find the balance between preventing severe blood loss and inducing liver damage through the use of VIO. Although research on the maximum duration of hepatic ischemia has intensified since the beginning of the 1980s, there still is no consensus on the tolerable upper limit. Based on the available literature, it is concluded that intermittent and continuous VIO can both be used safely when ischemia times do not exceed 120 min. However, intermittent VIO should be the preferred technique in cases that require >120 min duration of ischemia.


Hepatectomy; ischemia; ischemic preconditioning (IP); oxidative stress; reperfusion injury

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