Arterial blood flow predicts graft survival in liver transplant patients.
ABSTRACT Proper liver perfusion is essential for sufficient organ function after liver transplantation. The aim of this study was to determine the effects of portal and arterial blood flow on liver function and organ survival after liver transplantation. The arterial and portal venous blood flow was measured intraoperatively by transit time flow measurement after reperfusion for 290 consecutive liver transplants. The graft survival, hepatic cell damage (alanine aminotransferase and aspartate aminotransferase), and liver function (prothrombin ratio and bilirubin) were determined. Grafts were stratified into groups according to arterial blood flow measurements [<100 mL/minute for arterial blood flow group I (ART I), 100-240 mL/minute for ART II, and ≥ 240 mL/minute for ART III] and portal venous blood flow measurements (<1300 mL/minute for portal venous blood flow group I and ≥ 1300 mL/minute for portal venous blood flow group II). With multivariate analysis, the impact of blood flow on graft survival was determined, and potential confounders were considered. Decreased portal venous blood flow was associated with significantly less organ survival in univariate analysis but not in multivariate analysis. In contrast, the arterial blood flow was significantly correlated with organ survival after liver transplantation in univariate and multivariate analyses [hazard rate ratio = 2.5, confidence interval = 1.6-4.1, P < 0.001, median survival = 56.6 (ART I), 82.7 (ART II), or 100.7 months (ART III)]. Moreover, low arterial blood flow resulted in impaired postoperative organ function and higher rates of primary nonfunction. Biliary complications were not affected by blood flow. Other risk factors for graft failure that were identified by multivariate analysis included retransplantation, histidine tryptophan ketoglutarate solution versus University of Wisconsin solution, and donor treatment with epinephrine. Impaired arterial blood flow after reperfusion represents a significant predictor of primary graft nonfunction and is associated with impaired graft survival. Whether the intraoperative measurement of hepatic arterial flow is predictive of graft survival should be evaluated in a prospective trial.