Critical Importance of Low-Dose Tissue Plasminogen Activator Policy for Treating Intraoperative Pulmonary Thromboembolism During Liver Transplantation

Daniel Mandell, Raymond Planinsic, Fernando Melean, Christopher Hughes, Amit D. Tevar, Abhinav Humar, Benjamin J. Cassidy, Richard Simmons, Andre Dewolf, Tetsuro Sakai*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) has been reported to treat intraoperative pulmonary thromboembolism (PTE) during liver transplantation (LT). However, tPA administration is often delayed due to fear of uncontrolled bleeding and storage in a refrigerator outside of operating rooms. Various dosages of tPA were used. We hypothesize that a policy of tPA storage and low dosage use improves patient outcomes. At a transplantation center, a multidisciplinary committee has implemented a tPA policy since April 2014, which includes the following: (1) timely administering of low-dose tPA (0.5-4 mg) for intraoperative PTE; (2) keeping 2 vials of tPA (2 mg/vial) in the operating room at room temperature; and (3) transferring unused tPA vials to the cardiology catheterization laboratory for next-day use. A prospective observational study was conducted to record the incidence and outcome of PTE during LTs. Over the next 19 months, 99 adult deceased donor LTs were performed with 1 (1.0%) intraoperative PTE. A 45-year-old woman with hepatitis C developed PTE within 5 minutes after graft reperfusion. A 2-mg tPA was immediately administered via a central venous line with hemodynamic improvement and clot lysis. Thromboelastography was normalized in 90 minutes. Five LT cases developing intraoperative PTE have been reported to receive “standard” dosages of tPA (20-110 mg) or urokinase (4400 IU/kg), which were administered more than 20 minutes after the diagnosis of PTE. One intraoperative death and one later mortality were noted with intracranial hemorrhages/infarction of 3 cases. The multidisciplinary low-dose tPA policy for PTE was suggested to be effective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)376-382
Number of pages7
JournalSeminars in Cardiothoracic and Vascular Anesthesia
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


  • cardiovascular disease
  • coagulation and hemostasis
  • complication
  • echocardiography
  • patient safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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