Neurological complications after cadaveric and living donor liver transplantation

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Problems related to the central nervous system have a major impact on survival and quality of life. The aim of this retrospective study was to evaluate the incidence of neurological complications after liver transplantation (LT), including both cadaveric and living donor liver transplantation. Between April 2001 and March 2004 174 patients (120 cadaveric liver transplantations, 54 living donor transplantations) were admitted to our intensive care after liver transplantation. Of the transplanted patients 24.7% developed neurological complications. These patients' stay in the intensive care (14.2 ± 17.2 days) was much longer than that of all admitted patients (8.4 ± 10.5 days, p < 0.05). The most common neurological complications were encephalopathy (72.1%) and seizures (11.6 %). The incidence of neurological complications in living donor liver transplanted patients was significantly lower than in cadaveric transplantation patients (20.4% vs 26.7 %). The cold ischemia time in living donor transplanted patients was significantly shorter in comparison with cadaveric transplanted patients (215 ± 119.3 vs. 383.7 ± 214.7). The survival rate after liver transplantation of patients with neurological complications was lower than that of patients without, but not significantly different (79.1 % vs. 82.4%, p > 0.05). The incidence of neurological symptoms was found to be similar between the patients treated with cyclosporine (25%) and tacrolimus (23.8 %) in this study. In conclusion, there was a high incidence of neurological complications after LT, prolonging the patients' stay in intensive care significantly. The major neurological manifestation in our patients was encephalopathy followed by seizures. Living donor liver transplantation was associated with a significantly lower incidence of neurological complications compared with patients who had received a cadaveric graft. This might be due to the good quality of the organ and the much shorter cold ischemia time of the graft when the donor was alive.

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