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Reoperative complications after primary orthotopic liver transplantation: a contemporary single-center experience in the post-model for end-stage liver disease era.



Data on complications requiring reoperation after orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) are limited. We sought to describe the spectrum of reoperative complications after OLT, evaluate the associations with graft and patient survival, and identify predictors of need for reoperation.

Study design

We retrospectively studied adult patients who underwent primary OLT at our institution from February 2002 to July 2012. The primary outcomes included occurrence of a reoperative complication. Secondary outcomes were graft and patient survival. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to model the associations of recipient, donor, and operative variables with reoperation.


Of 1,620 patients, 470 (29%) had complications requiring reoperation. The most common reoperative complication was bleeding (17.3%). Compared with patients not requiring reoperation, patients with reoperative complications had greater Model for End-Stage Liver Disease scores and need for pretransplantation hospitalization, mechanical ventilation, vasopressors, and renal replacement therapy; considerably longer cold and warm ischemia times and greater intraoperative blood transfusion requirements; and substantially worse 1-, 3-, and 5-year graft and patient survival rates. In multivariable analysis, predictors of reoperative complications included intraoperative transfusion of packed RBCs (odds ratio [OR] = 2.21; 95% CI, 1.91-2.56), donor length of hospitalization >8 days (OR = 1.87; 95% CI, 1.28-2.73), recipient pretransplantation mechanical ventilation (OR = 1.65; 95% CI, 1.21-2.24), cold ischemia time >9 hours (OR = 1.63; 95% CI, 1.23-2.17), warm ischemia time >55 minutes (OR = 1.58; 95% CI, 1.02-2.44), earlier major abdominal surgery (OR = 1.41; 95% CI, 1.03-1.92), and elevated donor serum sodium (OR = 1.17; 95% CI, 1.03-1.31).


Patients who require reoperation for complications after OLT have high pretransplantation acuity and inferior post-transplantation survival. We identified factors associated with reoperative complications to guide perioperative donor-recipient matching and improve outcomes.

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