Background. Orthotopic liver transplantation is possible even in the presence of recipient portal vein thrombosis, provided that hepatopetal portal flow to the graft can be restored, On rare occasions this is not possible due to diffuse thrombosis of the portal venous system. In these cases, successful liver transplantation has been considered impossible. Portocaval transposition was introduced in the pretransplantation era to study the effect of systemic venous flow on the liver and has been used in three patients for the treatment of glycogen storage disease. We used portocaval hemitransposition (portal perfusion with inflow from the inferior vena cava) in liver transplantation when portal inflow to the graft was not feasible. We are reporting the collective experience of nine patients from four liver transplant centers. Methods. Cavoportal hemitransposition was used in nine patients. In seven of these cases, the technique was used during the original transplant (primary group). In two cases, it was used after the portal inflow to the first transplant had clotted (secondary group). Results. Five of seven patients in the primary group are alive after intervals of 6- 11 months. The two patients in the rescue group died. In the successful cases, liver function and histology were indistinguishable from those of conventional liver transplantation. Ascites disappeared within 3-4 months and the patients were able to return to their normal activities. Postoperative variceal bleeding necessitated splenectomy and gastric devascularization in one case and splenic artery embolization in another case. Bleeding was controlled in both these cases. Splenectomy and gastric devascularization were performed prophylactically in one patient with a history of variceal bleeding in order to prevent this complication after transplantation. Conclusion. Portocaval hemitransposition maybe useful in liver transplantation when hepatopetal flow to the liver graft cannot be established by other techniques. Rescue after failure of conventional technique was not possible in two patients.
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