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Dig Dis Sci. 1998 Sep;43(9):1931-7.

Role of splenectomy in human liver transplantation under modern-day immunosuppression.

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Thomas E. Starzl Transplant Institute, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pennsylvania 15213, USA.


Between January 1987 and October 1991, 1466 patients underwent consecutive Orthotopic Liver Transplantation (OLTx) at the University of Pittsburgh. Forty of these patient's had concomitant splenectomy with OLTx. These patients were compared to 147 randomly selected OLTx patients without splenectomy within the same time period. One-year patient and graft survival (PS and GS) were lower in splenectomized (Splx) patients compared to nonsplenectomized (non-Splx) patients (59% vs 86% PS, 55% vs 80% GS, respectively). One-month and one-year patient mortality in the Splx group was higher than in the non-splx patients (20% vs 3.4%, P < 0.001 for one month; 40% vs 14.3%, P = 0.003 for one year, respectively). One-month and one-year sepsis-related mortality was also high in Splx patients (17.5% vs 2.7%, P = 0.0022, for one month, and 30% vs 11.5%, P = 0.0043, for one year, respectively). We conclude that concomitant splenectomy with OLTx has a significantly higher patient mortality mainly due to its septic complications and, at present, unless there is a specific indication for a splenectomy, the routine addition of this procedure to liver allograft surgery would not be recommended.

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