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Simultaneous splenectomy improves outcomes after adult living donor liver transplantation

Published:August 19, 2020DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhep.2020.08.017

      Highlights

      • Simultaneous splenectomy improved clinical outcomes in LDLT recipients after propensity-score matching.
      • Univariate analysis revealed that splenectomy was the only factor associated with graft mortality after LDLT.
      • Simultaneous splenectomy can be used to overcome small-for-size graft syndrome.
      • It can also be recommended for patients with portal hypertension or high portal pressure after reperfusion in LDLT.

      Background & Aims

      Small-for-size graft (SFSG) syndrome is a major cause of graft loss after living donor liver transplantation (LDLT). Splenectomy (Spx) is an option to prevent this catastrophic complication, but its effect remains controversial. Herein, we aimed to elucidate the effect of simultaneous Spx on graft function and long-term outcomes after LDLT.

      Methods

      Three hundred and twenty patients were divided into 2 groups: those undergoing (n = 258) and those not undergoing (n = 62) simultaneous Spx. To overcome selection bias, propensity score matching (PSM) was performed (n = 50 in each group).

      Results

      Before PSM, recipients undergoing simultaneous Spx showed better graft function on post-operative day (POD) 7 and 14, as well as lower sepsis frequency within 6 months after LDLT and better graft survival rates compared to those not undergoing Spx. After PSM, compared to patients not undergoing Spx, those undergoing Spx had a lower frequency of early graft dysfunction on POD 7 (p = 0.04); a lower frequency of SFSG syndrome (p = 0.01), lower serum total bilirubin levels (p = 0.001), and lower international normalized ratio (p = 0.004) on POD 14; lower sepsis frequency within 6 months after LDLT (p = 0.02), and better graft survival rates (p = 0.04). Univariate analysis revealed that not undergoing Spx (hazard ratio 3.06; 95% CI 1.07–11.0; p = 0.037) was the only risk factor for graft loss after LDLT.

      Conclusions

      Simultaneous Spx may prevent SFSG syndrome and is a predictive factor for graft survival after LDLT. Simultaneous Spx is recommended when a small graft (≤35% of standard liver weight) is predicted preoperatively, or for patients with portal hypertension or high portal pressure (above 20 mmHg) after reperfusion in LDLT.

      Lay summary

      Living donor liver transplantation (LDLT) for patients with acute or chronic liver failure is an alternative to overcome the deceased donor shortage. The potential mismatch between graft and body size is a problem that needs to be solved for LDLT recipients. Herein, we evaluated the impact of simultaneous splenectomy and showed that it was associated with favorable outcomes in patients undergoing LDLT.

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      Keywords

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