Safety and Efficacy of Splenic Artery Embolization for Portal Hyperperfusion in Liver Transplant Recipients: A 5-Year Experience

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Severe portal hyperperfusion (PHP) after liver transplantation has been shown to cause intrahepatic arterial vasoconstriction secondary to increased adenosine washout (hepatic artery buffer response). Clinically, posttransplant PHP can cause severe cases of refractory ascites and hydrothorax. In the past, we reported our preliminary experience with the use of splenic artery embolization (SAE) as a way to reduce PHP. Here we present our 5-year experience with SAE in orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT). Between January 2007 and December 2011, 681 patients underwent OLT at our institution, and 54 of these patients underwent SAE for increased hepatic arterial resistance and PHP (n = 42) or refractory ascites/hepatic hydrothorax (n = 12). Patients undergoing SAE were compared to a control group matched by year of embolization, calculated Model for End-Stage Liver Disease score, and liver weight. SAE resulted in improvements in hepatic artery resistive indices (0.92 ± 0.14 and 0.76 ± 0.10 before and after SAE, respectively; P < 0.001) and improved hepatic arterial blood flow (HAF; 15.6 ± 9.69 and 28.7 ± 14.83, respectively; P < 0.001). Calculated splenic volumes and spleen/liver volume ratios were correlated with patients requiring SAE versus matched controls (P = 0.002 and P = 0.001, respectively). Among the 54 patients undergoing SAE, there was 1 case of postsplenectomy syndrome. No abscesses, significant infections, or bleeding was noted. We thus conclude that SAE is a safe and effective technique able to improve HAF parameters in patients with elevated portal venous flow and its sequelae. Liver Transpl 21:435–441, 2015. © 2015 AASLD.

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