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A rare complication of pediatric liver transplantation: post-transplant diaphragmatic hernia

Title: A rare complication of pediatric liver transplantation: post-transplant diaphragmatic hernia

Source: Pediatric Transplantation 2024, 28 (3): e14749

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Date of publication: May 2024

Publication type: Article

Abstract: Aim: Acquired post-transplant diaphragmatic hernia (PTDH) is a rare complication of liver transplantation (LT) in children. We aimed to present our experience in PTDH, and a possible causative background is discussed.

Methods: Medical records of patients who had undergone diaphragmatic repair following LT between 2015 and 2023 were reviewed. Demographic information, details of primary diseases necessitating LT, transplantation techniques, and clinical findings associated with PTDH were evaluated.

Results: There were seven patients with PTDH. Median age at transplantation was 69 (range: 9-200) months. Five patients received a left lateral sector, one patient had a right lobe, and one had a left lobe graft. Time between LT and PTDH was 9 (2-123) months. One patient who was diagnosed in the postoperative 10th year was asymptomatic. Respiratory distress and abdominal pain were the main symptoms among all. All patients underwent laparotomy, and primary repair was performed in six patients, and one patient required mesh repair because of a large defect. Small intestine herniated in most cases. There were two complicated cases with perforation of the stomach and colonic volvulus. There is no recurrence or long-term complications for the median 60 (20-119) month follow-up period.

Conclusion: PTDH is a rare but serious complication. Majority of symptomatic cases present within the first postoperative year, whereas some late-presenting cases may not be symptomatic. Inadvertent injury to the inferior phrenic vasculatures due to excessive use of cauterization for control of hemostasis may be a plausible explanation in those cases.

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