Biliary complications in pediatric liver transplantation: A comparison of reduced-size and whole grafts

Thomas G. Heffron*, Jean C. Emond, Peter F. Whitington, J. R. Thistlethwaite, Larry Stevens, James Piper, Susan Whitington, Christoph E. Broelsch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

131 Scopus citations


One of the major changes in liver transplantation has been the application of reduced-size liver trans-plants(RLT). RLT has the great advantage of expanding the donor pool up to ten times the weight of the recipient, thereby decreasing pretransplant mortality in the pediatric age group. It has been suggested that RLT is a risk factor for biliary complications. To analyze the role of RLT and biliary complications, the results of 213 consecutive liver transplants in 164 pediatric patients over a 6-year period will were reviewed. These included 113 whole-liver transplants and 100 reduced-size liver transplants (49 reduced cadaveric liver transplants (RCLT), 38 split-liver transplants (SLT) and 13 living-related liver transplants (LRLT). The average weight and age were significantly higher in recipients receiving whole-size grafts (average weight 18.4 mg, average age 4.9 years) than in those receiving reduced size grafts (average age 2.3 years, average weight 11.1 kg). Biliary reconstruction consisted of Roux-en-Y, cholangiojejunostomy (n=203) or choledochocholedochos-tomy (n=10). There were 29 total biliary complications, (13.6%) with no significant difference in the complication rate between the whole (n=13, 11.5%) or reduced livers (n=16, 16%). Biliary leakage was the most common complication (n=20), and it occurred at the biliary enteric anastamoses (n=10), the roux limb (n=7), or at the cut edge (n=3). Of the leaks occurring at the biliary enteric anastomoses, 50% were caused by hepatic artery thrombosis. Biliary obstruction accounted for their remaining complications (n=9) or 4.2%. Actuarial survival from 6 years to a minimum of two months of follow-up was 73% in the whole-size and 70% in reduced-size liver transplants. This series demonstrates that the incidence of biliary complications is similar in reduced-size and full-size grafts. No grafts were lost to biliary complications in the absence of hepatic artery thrombosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)391-395
Number of pages5
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation


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