Graft ischemia following liver transplantation is associated with a high incidence of morbidity and mortality. The present report concerns a group of seven patients in whom an anastomotic stenosis of the hepatic artery was identified. Three patients had unexplained allograft dysfunction at a median time of 28 days (range 13–64 days), and 3 had a biliary leak at a median time of 42 days after liver transplantation (range 35–270 days). In one patient the stenosis was diagnosed by routine Doppler ultrasound one week after transplant. Management was by percutaneous transluminal angioplasty at a median time of 35 days (range 13–270 days) after transplantation. After angioplasty there was a marked improvement in clinical appearance, liver function, and liver histology in 5 of the 7 patients. Those patients who had a biliary leak subsequently developed strictures that eventually required biliary tract reconstruction (hepaticojejunos-tomy) in two and retransplantation in one.
Percutaneous transluminal angioplasty is an effective way of improving arterial blood flow in cases of anastomotic stenosis, reducing the likelihood of complete occlusion by thrombosis. If recognized early and treated promptly ischemic changes in the graft can resolve and the development of biliary strictures may be avoided.