Multivisceral transplant (MVT) for cirrhosis, and portomesenteric vein thrombosis (PVT), is fraught with life-threatening thrombo-hemorrhagic complications. Embolization of native viscera has been attempted in a handful of cases with mixed results. We carried out a comparative analysis of angiographic, intra-operative, and pathological findings in three recipients of MVT who were deemed exceptionally high hemorrhagic risk and therefore underwent preoperative visceral embolization. All recipients were male with cirrhosis, PVT, and a surgical history indicative of diffuse visceral adhesions; status post-liver transplantation (n = 2) and proctocolectomy (n = 1). The first patient had two Amplatzer II embolization plugs placed 2 cm from the origins of celiac and superior mesenteric (SMA) arteries. Distal migration of the celiac plug into gastroduodenal artery (GDA) and ensuing ischemia reperfusion injury, presumably contributed to severe disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) and intra-operative mortality. In the other two recipients, distal Gelfoam embolization of the SMA, GDA, and splenic arteries was performed, and although remarkable hemorrhage and coagulopathy occurred, embolization, undoubtedly, facilitated exenteration and improved outcomes. Pathologic examination in these cases confirmed ischemic necrosis of eviscerated bowel. In conclusion, liver-sparing, preoperative distal embolization of native viscera with Gelfoam is beneficial, but entails several pitfalls. It should currently be reserved for MVT recipients who otherwise are at unacceptably high risk.
- multivisceral transplantation
- portal vein thrombosis
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