Traumatic and Postoperative Ischemic Liver Necrosis: Causes, Risk Factors and Treatment

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Background:To study the cause and outcome of ischemic liver necrosis and suggest treatment of these patients.Methods:Retrospective study of 13 patients with ischemic liver necrosis treated at our departments from 1990 until 1997.Results:Ischemic liver necrosis was caused by general hypoxia (n = 1) or acute arterial occlusion (n = 12) of the celiac and superior mesenteric artery (SMA, n = 3), proper hepatic artery (PHA, n = 1), right hepatic artery (RHA, n = 2), left hepatic artery (LHA, n = 2) and intrahepatic vessels (n = 4). Six of the cases were related to surgical procedures, 5 of these (38%) were unintended arterial injuries after biliary surgery. Ten patients (77%) had risk factors contributing to the development of liver necrosis: septicemia (n = 4), jaundice and septicemia (n = 2), shock and hypoxia (n = 3) and alcoholic cirrhosis (n = 1). Five patients (38%) needed resection of the liver necrosis due to infected necrosis. Three patients (23%) died; two of these had celiac/SMA occlusion. One died due to complete gastrointestinal ischemia and severe lactacidosis, two died of multiorgan failure after bile leakage and septicemia.Conclusion:Ischemic liver necrosis is mainly caused by arterial occlusion due to arteriosclerosis, arterial transection during biliary surgery or blunt liver trauma, and seldom occurs without additional risk factors. 50% of the patients develop infected necrosis and need liver resection. Patients with sterile necrosis may recover without surgical procedures of the liver. The mortality in patients with central (celiac/SMA) and peripheral (CHA, PHA, RHA, LHA, intrahepatic branches) occlusions was 67% (2/3) and 11% (1/9), respectively.

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