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Medicine (Baltimore). 2018 Mar;97(10):e0087. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000010087.

Evaluation the efficacy and safety of simultaneous splenectomy in liver transplantation patients: A meta-analysis.

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Department of Liver Surgery and Liver Transplantation Center.
Department of Anesthesia, West China Hospital of Sichuan University, Sichuan, China.



Simultaneous splenectomy during liver transplantation (LT) is debated. The present meta-analysis assessed the efficacy and safety of splenectomy on the outcome of LT patients.


We searched PubMed, Embase, and Wanfang databases for relevant studies published until the date of July 15, 2017. Quality assessment of the included studies was performed using a modified Newcastle-Ottawa Scale judgment. The data were analyzed using RevMan5.3 software.


A total of 16 studies consisting of 2198 patients (892 patients received splenectomy during LT [SPLT group] and 1306 patients received LT only [LT group]) were included in the present meta-analysis. Efficacy analysis revealed that pooled hazard ratio for overall survival (OS) between 2 groups was not significantly different (hazard ratio = 1.03; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.71-1.50). SPLT group had less postoperative rejection (odds ratio [OR] = 0.63, 95% CI: 0.50-0.79) and small for size syndrome (OR = 0.23, 95% CI: 0.07-0.79). SPLT group had significantly lower preoperative platelet (mean difference [MD] = -17.23, 95% CI: -19.54, -14.91), but significantly higher postoperative platelet (MD = 170.45, 95% CI: 108.33-232.56). Conversely, SPLT group had significant higher preoperative portal pressure (MD = 1.54, 95% CI: 0.75-2.33) and significant lower postoperative portal pressure (MD = -1.17, 95% CI: -2.24, -0.11). Safety analysis revealed that SPLT group had significantly longer operation time (MD = 56.66, 95% CI: 35.96-77.35), more intraoperative blood loss (MD = 1.08, 95% CI: 0.25-1.91), and more intraoperative red blood cell (RBC) transfusion (MD = 3.77, 95% CI: 3.22-4.33). Furthermore, SPLT group had significantly higher incidence of postoperative hemorrhage (OR = 3.07, 95% CI: 1.92-4.91), postoperative thrombosis (OR = 3.63, 95% CI: 1.06-12.45), and perioperative infection (OR = 2.62, 95% CI: 1.76-3.90). In addition, perioperative mortality was significantly higher in the SPLT group (OR = 3.14, 95% CI: 1.31-7.52). Postoperative hospital stay did not differ significantly between 2 groups (OR = -1.75, 95% CI: -3.66-0.16).


Splenectomy benefits LT patients in increasing platelet count. However, splenectomy is a morbid procedure as splenectomy increases operation time, intraoperative blood loss, intraoperative RBC transfusion, and postoperative complications. Splenectomy does not improve OS but increase perioperative mortality. Therefore, splenectomy should be performed only in selective patients.

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