Hepatic artery thrombosis (HAT) is a major cause of patient morbidity and graft loss in pediatric liver transplantation (OLT). Although some grafts may be salvaged by arterial thrombectomy and reconstruction, many patients require retransplantation. Patient survival is reduced by HAT. It has been suggested that the incidence of HAT may be altered by the use of reduced-size grafts (RSG). We analyzed our series of infants receiving OLT to determine the frequency of HAT in full-size OLT, cadaveric RSG, and living-related RSG. The role of arterial anastomotic technique in the development of HAT was also examined. Between 10/1/84 and 12/7/90 433 liver transplants were performed. During this period 100 patients between 3 months and 2 years of age (mean 13 months) received 134 liver grafts. The mean weight at the time of transplant was 7.9 kg. (range: 1.9-15 kg.). Of the 134 grafts, 60 were whole livers, 61 were cadaveric RSGs, and 13 were living-related RSGs. The cadaveric RSGs were 9 right lobe grafts, 21 left lobe grafts, and 31 left lateral segment grafts. Twenty-seven of the cadaveric RSGs were from split livers, while the other 34 were simple reductions. All 13 livingrelated RSGs were left lateral segments. HAT occurred in 15 of 60 (25%) whole livers, 9 of 61 (15%) cadaveric RSGs, and 3 of 13 (23%) of the living-related-donor RSGs (P=NS). Subdividing the cadaveric RSGs revealed that HAT occurred in 3 of 9 (33%) right lobe grafts, 3 of 21 (14%) left lobe grafts, and 3 of 31 (10%) left lateral segment grafts (P=NS). The site of the arterial anastomosis in the recipient correlated with the incidence of HAT (hepatic artery 21/86 [24%], celiac axis 1/9 [11%], aorta 2/32 [6%], P=0.06). In conclusion, it appears that use of a cadaveric left lobe or left lateral segment graft and an aortic arterial anastomosis reduces the risk of hepatic artery thrombosis in liver transplant recipients less than 2 years of age.
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