In the Literature: New Research from Our Faculty (Dr. Achal Dhir)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Semin Cardiothorac Vasc Anesth. 2013 Sep;17(3):180-94.

Anesthesia for liver transplantation.

Hall TH, Dhir A


Orthotopic liver transplantation is the only definitive treatment for end-stage liver disease. More than 6000 procedures are performed in the United States annually with excellent survival rates. The shortage of donor organs leads to continued interest in techniques to enlarge the potential donor pool. Patients presenting for liver transplant suffer from important cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, neurological, and gastroenterological comorbidity. In the Western world, liver failure is increasingly caused by steatohepatitis, and transplant candidates are thus becoming older and more comorbid. The role of the transplant anesthesiologist is highly important in the preoperative assessment, intraoperative management, and postoperative care of these complex and sick patients. Appropriate investigation and management of comorbidities such as coronary artery disease and portopulmonary hypertension is controversial and differs between programs. The transplant procedure is a major surgery, and although massive transfusion is no longer commonplace, there is potential for significant hemodynamic instability, coagulopathy, and metabolic disturbance. Liver transplant surgery can be divided into the preanhepatic phase, the anhepatic phase, and the reperfusion phase, with important anesthetic considerations at each point. An understanding of the surgical techniques used for vascular exclusion of the liver and the role of venovenous bypass is crucial for the anesthesiologist. Recent trends in perioperative care include the use of antifibrinolytic drugs and point-of-care coagulation tests, intraoperative renal replacement therapy, and "fast-track" extubation and postoperative care. Care of patients with fulminant hepatic failure or those receiving split-liver grafts requires special consideration.

See the article on Pubmed