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Br J Surg. 2001 Feb;88(2):210-5.

Improving operative safety for cirrhotic liver resection.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Taichung Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.



Liver resection in a patient with cirrhosis carries increased risk. The purposes of this study were to review the results of cirrhotic liver resection in the past decade and to propose safe strategies for cirrhotic liver resection.


Based on the date of operation, 359 cirrhotic liver resections in 329 patients were divided into two intervals: period 1, from September 1989 to December 1994, and period 2, from January 1995 to December 1999. The patient backgrounds, operative procedures and early postoperative results were compared between the two periods. The factors that influenced surgical morbidity were analysed.


In period 2, patient age was higher and the amounts of blood loss and blood transfused were lower. Although postoperative morbidity rates were similar, blood transfusion requirement, postoperative hospital stay and mortality rate were significantly reduced in period 2. No death occurred in 154 consecutive cirrhotic liver resections in the last 38 months of the study. Prothrombin activity and operative time were independent factors that influenced postoperative morbidity.


With improving perioperative assessment and operative techniques, most complications after cirrhotic liver resection can be treated with a low mortality rate. However, more care should be taken if prothrombin activity is low or there is a long operating time.

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