Neuropraxia: An Underappreciated Morbidity of Liver Transplantation

Rebecca Craig-Schapiro, Nicolas Krepostman, Mohan Ravi, Nikhilesh Mazumder, Amna Daud, Daniela P. Ladner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Peripheral nerve injuries can be devastating complications of surgery, potentially resulting in severe functional disability and decreased quality of life. Long surgeries with considerable tissue manipulation, for example, liver transplantation, may present increased risk; however, neuropraxia in transplantation has not been well investigated. Materials and methods: This is a retrospective study of all adult patients undergoing liver transplantation at a large academic center between January 2013 and December 2015. Descriptive analyses, logistic regressions, and forward selection procedures were used to determine the odds of developing neuropraxia and associated factors. Results: Of the 283 liver recipients, the mean age was 55.8 y, 35.1% were female, 65.6% were Caucasian, 8.9% were African American, 16.7% were Hispanic, and mean model for end-stage liver disease sodium score at transplant was 24.2 ± 10.9. The underlying etiology was alcohol (26.2%), hepatitis C (34.8%), nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (13.1%), and other (14.2%). The incidence of neuropraxia after liver transplantation was 8.3% (n = 25), with 60% (n = 16) upper extremities, 82% left sided, and 84% male. There was no difference in age, race, body mass index, hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, or smoking in those with neuropraxia versus those without. In multivariate analysis, neuropraxia was significantly associated with male gender, lower model for end-stage liver disease score, and longer duration of surgery (P < 0.05). Symptoms lasted median 5 d, with a wide range up to 187 d. Neuropraxia-specific treatment (physical therapy or medications) was required in 32% (n = 9). Conclusions: Peripheral nerve injuries are an unexplored complication of liver transplantation. Although transient, a high number (8.2%) of patients developed neuropraxia, negatively affecting their ability for recovery. Exploration of mechanisms for minimizing risk and intraoperative detection and prevention should be considered to mitigate this complication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)188-194
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Nov 2020


  • Liver transplantation
  • Neuropraxia
  • Peripheral nerve
  • Postoperative complications

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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