Emergencies after liver transplantation.
Liver transplantation has become the procedure of choice for a wide variety of patients with end-stage liver disease. Perioperative morbidity and mortality have decreased dramatically over the past two decades, and superior graft and patient survival rates are now routine. Despite these advances, however, there remain several potentially lethal possibilities that may complicate the immediate postoperative period. Failure of the graft to regain any useful metabolic activity is known as primary nonfunction, and almost uniformly requires retransplantation for any hope of survival. Lesser degrees of immediate dysfunction require experienced clinical judgment as to the probability of sustaining long-term patient viability. Another potentially catastrophic development is thrombosis of the grafted hepatic artery. This is sometimes successfully managed by surgical reconstruction. It may develop immediately, or present insidiously much later. Thrombosis of the portal vein, while not usually fatal, can significantly complicate the immediate course, carrying with it a significant risk of sepsis. Close monitoring of patients in the period following liver transplantation is crucial, as prompt diagnosis and early intervention directly affects the patient's chances of survival.
Marroquin, CE; Tuttle-Newhall, JE; Collins, BH; Kuo, PC; Schroeder, RA
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