The need for venovenous bypass in liver transplantation

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Since introduction of the conventional liver transplantation (CLTx) by Starzl, which was based on the resection of recipient inferior vena cava (IVC) along the liver, the procedure has undergone several refinements. Successful use of venovenous bypass (VVB) was first introduced by Shaw et al., although in recent decades there has been controversy regarding the routine use of VVB during CLTx. With development of piggyback liver transplantation (PLTx), the use of caval clamping and VVB is avoided, leading to fewer complications related to VVB. However, some authors still advocate VVB in PLTx. The great diversity among centers in their use of VVB during CLTx, or even along the PLTx technique, has led to confusion regarding the indication setting for VVB. For this reason, we present an overview of the use of VVB in CLTx, the target of patients for whom VVB could be beneficial, and the needs assessment of VVB for patients undergoing PLTx. Recent studies have shown that with the advancement of surgical skills, refinement of surgical techniques, and improvements in anesthesiology, there are only limited indications for doing CLTx with VVB routinely. PLTx with preservation of IVC can be performed in almost all primary transplants and in the majority of re-transplantations without the need for VVB. Nevertheless, in a few selective cases with severe intra-operative hemodynamic instability, or with a failed test of transient IVC occlusion, the application of VVB is still justifiable. These indications should be judged intra-operatively and the decision is based on each center's preference.

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