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Rates of hepatic artery thrombosis in liver transplantation with the use of a microscope: a systematic review

Title: Rates of hepatic artery thrombosis in liver transplantation with the use of a microscope: a systematic review

Source: Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery 2023, 87: 352-360

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Date of publication: December 2023

Publication type: Systematic review

Abstract: Objective: Hepatic artery anastomosis in liver transplantations requires a meticulous technique to minimize the risk of hepatic artery thrombosis (HAT). The microscope helped improve anastomosis techniques in pediatric patients with small caliber vessels. The aim of this review was to compare microsurgical and non-microsurgical techniques on the incidence of HAT in liver transplantations. The secondary objective was to compare HAT incidence between pediatric and adult cohorts and between plastic and transplant surgeons.

Methods: A systematic review of the literature using Medline, Embase, and Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) was conducted on studies involving HAT in liver transplantations with microsurgery. Three reviewers performed a full article review and data extraction for studies meeting the eligibility criteria of the study.

Results: Forty-five studies were incorporated in the final analysis. A total of 7346 patients and 7506 liver transplants were included. The mean age was 17 years old with an equivalent distribution between pediatric (51%, n = 3218) and adult patients (49%, n = 3145). A total of 6351 of these transplantations underwent microsurgical repair, against 1157 with non-microsurgical techniques. The overall HAT rate was 4.9%, including 4.2% in the microsurgical group (n = 268) and 8.5% in the non-microsurgical group (n = 98), a statistically significant increase of 4.3%. The occurrence of HAT was 2.6% with a plastic surgeon versus 4.6% with other types of surgeons. When using microsurgical techniques, the HAT rate was 4.2% with living donors versus 7.7% with deceased donors.

Conclusions: HAT and subsequent liver transplant failure are lower when microsurgical techniques, living donors, and plastic surgeons with a microsurgical training are involved in the operation.

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