Risk Factors and Outcomes of Intracardiac Thrombosis During Orthotopic Liver Transplantation

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Transplantation Proceedings


Background: Intracardiac thrombosis incidence during orthotopic liver transplantation is estimated at 0.36% to 6.2% with mortality up to 68%. We aimed to evaluate risk factors and outcomes related to intracardiac thrombosis during orthotopic liver transplantation.

Materials and Methods: A comprehensive retrospective data review of 388 patients who underwent orthotopic liver transplantation at an urban transplant center from January 2013 to October 2016 was obtained.

Results: Six patients were found to have documented intracardiac thrombosis; 4 cases were recognized during the reperfusion stage and 1 during pre-anhepatic stage. All allografts were procured from decreased donors with a median donor age of 44 years (interquartile range, 35.25-49.75) and the cause of death was listed as cerebrovascular accident in 5 donors. Preoperative demographic, clinical, laboratory, and historical risk factors did not differ in patients with thrombosis. None had a prior history of trans-jugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt or gastrointestinal bleeding. Three patients had renal injury, but no intraoperative hemodialysis was performed. Transesophageal echocardiographic findings included elevated pulmonary artery pressure (1/6), right ventricular strain (1/6), and pulmonary artery thrombus (1/6). Three patients died intraoperatively. Tissue plasminogen activator alone was given to 1 patient who did not survive, intravenous heparin only to 1 patient with resolution, and a combination of both was used in 2 patients with clot resolution achieved.

Conclusion: Cardiac thrombosis should be considered in patients having hemodynamic compromise during liver transplantation. Transesophageal echocardiography is a useful diagnostic tool. Intracardiac thrombosis treatment remains challenging; however, using both thrombolytics and heparin could achieve better results.

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