Liver Transplantation for Post reperfusion Syndrome due to Surgical Packing of a Lacerated Liver

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The liver is the most frequently injured intra-abdominal organ and is the main cause of death in patients with abdominal injuries (mortality 10-15%). Grades III and IV liver injuries may present a complex problem to the surgeon. Several techniques to prevent exsanguination have been described including perihepatic packing, hepatic artery ligation, liver suturing or resection, and hepatectomy with transplantation. We report a case of a trauma patient who underwent perihepatic packing to control bleeding. Following pack removal, the patient developed severe cardiorespiratory depression resulting from postreperfusion syndrome requiring emergency total hepatectomy and liver transplantation. Types I-III hepatic injuries can safely be treated conservatively. Complex injuries (types IV and V) result in significant mortality, often requiring operative intervention. Indications of transplantion are uncontrollable hemorrhage or irreversible liver dysfunction. Literature reports describe liver transplantation as a second line treatment of complications following initial treatment. Our patient underwent liver transplantation as a second line treatment. The decision to transplant was based on two pathologic findings, ischemic changes of the liver and sudden cardio-respiratory decompensation following restoration of the blood supply to the liver. Both complications are emergencies, leading to death if not recognized and treated instantly. A total hepatectomy with temporary portocaval shunt followed by liver transplantation immediately or at a later stage is a life saving treatment for such cases.

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