Pharmacologic Strategies to Prevent Blood Loss and Transfusion in Orthotopic Liver Transplantation

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Abstract

Patients undergoing orthotopic liver transplantation are at risk of both life-threatening blood loss and thrombosis due to preexisting liver dysfunction and major intra- and postoperative coagulopathy. Traditional laboratory markers of hemostasis and coagulopathy are often inadequate to describe the alterations. Whole blood global viscoelastic tests, thromboelastography, and thromboelastometry may provide more complete pictures of the hematologic derangements and allow for more targeted therapy to prevent blood loss and massive transfusion. Antifibrinolytic medications such as aprotinin, tranexamic acid, and [Latin Small Letter Open E]-aminocaproic acid have been used successfully to reduce blood loss and the need for transfusion, although most published data are from small prospective trials or larger retrospective cohorts. Recombinant factor VIIa has not been shown to improve outcomes. Although transfusion needs have been associated with adverse outcomes, no studied medications for prevention of blood loss and transfusion have been associated with improved mortality or graft survival post-liver transplant.

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