Temporary abdominal closure and delayed biliary reconstruction due to massive bleeding in patients undergoing liver transplantation: an old trick in a new indication

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Massive bleeding during liver transplantation (LT) is difficult to manage surgical event. Perihepatic packing (PP) and temporary abdominal closure (TAC) with delayed biliary reconstruction (DBR) can be applied in these circumstances.


A prospective database of LT in a major transplant center was analyzed to identify patients with massive uncontrollable bleeding during LT that was resolved by PP, TAC, and DBR.


From January 2009 to July 2013, 20 (3.6%) of 547 patients who underwent LT underwent DBR. Mean intraoperative blood loss was 20,500 ml at the first operation. The DBR was performed with a mean of 55.2 h (16–110) after LT. Biliary reconstruction included duct-to-duct (n = 9) and hepatico-jejunostomy (n = 11). Complications occurred in eight patients and included portal vein thrombosis, cholangitis, severe bacteremia, pneumonia. There was one in-hospital death. In the follow-up of 18 to 33 months we have seen one patient died 9 months after transplantation. The remaining 18 patients are alive and well.


In case of massive uncontrollable bleeding and bowel edema during LT, the combined procedures of PP, TAC, and DBR offer an alternatively surgical option to solve the tough situation.

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