This study examines factors associated with the performance of orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) without red blood cell (RBC) transfusion.
Between January 1992 and December 1994, 306 primary OLTs were performed with recipients divided into two groups: group 1 patients (61 recipients, 20% of total) underwent transplantation without packed RBCs, and group 2 patients (245 recipients, 80% of cases) received a transfusion of at least 1 unit of RBCs during operation.
Recipients in group 1 compared with group 2 had less advanced liver disease (20% hospitalized and 48% Child's class C versus 58% hospitalized and 73% Child's class C, p < 0.01) and lower frequency of right upper quadrant surgery (13% versus 25%, p < 0.05). Group 1 recipients also had significantly higher preoperative hematocrits (38% versus 33%, p < 0.01), lower prothrombin times (15.4 versus 16.7 seconds, p < 0.001) and partial thromboplastin times (36.9 versus 42.2 seconds, p < 0.01), a greater proportion of patients transplanted by piggyback technique (87% versus 59%, p < 0.001), and shorter operative times (7.9 hours versus 9.2 hours, p < 0.001). Moreover, a greater percentage of patients underwent OLT without RBC transfusion in each successive year: 9% in 1992, 21% in 1993, and 31% in 1994 (p < 0.001). Logistic regression analysis showed the following factors to be independent predictors of OLT without RBC transfusion. Preoperative Hct, United Network of Organ Sharing status, piggyback technique, operative time, and year of transplantation.
OLT can be performed without transfusion of RBCs in recipients with less advanced liver disease, and surgical technique, along with increased experience by the transplant team, are important factors.