Retransplantation in Late Hepatic Artery Thrombosis: Graft Access and Transplant Outcome

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Definitive treatment for late hepatic artery thrombosis (L-HAT) is retransplantation (re-LT); however, the L-HAT–associated disease burden is poorly represented in allocation models.


Graft access and transplant outcome of the re-LT experience between 2005 and 2016 was reviewed with specific focus on the L-HAT cohort in this single-center retrospective study.


Ninety-nine (5.7%) of 1725 liver transplantations were re-LT with HAT as the main indication (n = 43; 43%) distributed into early (n = 25) and late (n = 18) episodes. Model for end-stage liver disease as well as United Kingdom model for end-stage liver disease did not accurately reflect high disease burden of graft failure associated infections such as hepatic abscesses and biliary sepsis in L-HAT. Hence, re-LT candidates with L-HAT received low prioritization and waited longest until the allocation of an acceptable graft (median, 103 days; interquartile range, 28-291 days), allowing for progression of biliary sepsis. Balance of risk score and 3-month mortality score prognosticated good transplant outcome in L-HAT but, contrary to the prediction, the factual 1-year patient survival after re-LT was significantly inferior in L-HAT compared to early HAT, early non-HAT and late non-HAT (65% vs 82%, 92% and 95%) which was mainly caused by sepsis and multiorgan failure driving 3-month mortality (28% vs 11%, 16% and 0%). Access to a second graft after a median waitlist time of 6 weeks achieved the best short- and long-term outcome in re-LT for L-HAT (3-month mortality, 13%; 1-year survival, 77%).


Inequity in graft access and peritransplant sepsis are fundamental obstacles for successful re-LT in L-HAT. Offering a graft for those in need at the best window of opportunity could facilitate earlier engrafting with improved outcomes.

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