Even though numerous cases of massive thromboemboli have been reported in the literature, intracardiac thromboemboli (ICTs) incidentally found during orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) have not been examined. In this study, we retrospectively examined the incidence, risk factors, and management of incidental ICTs during OLT. After institutional review board approval, adult patients who underwent OLT between January 2004 and December 2008 at our center were reviewed. ICTs were identified and confirmed by the examination of OLT datasheets, anesthesia records, and recorded transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) clips. The clinical presentation, management, and outcomes of the patients with ICTs were reviewed. Risk factors were analyzed by multivariate logistic regression. During the study period, 426 of the 936 adult OLT patients (45.5%) underwent intraoperative TEE monitoring. Incidental ICTs were identified in 8 of these 426 patients (1.9%). Two ICTs occurred before reperfusion, and 6 ICTs occurred after reperfusion. The treatment was at the discretion of the treating physicians; however, none of the patients received an anticoagulant or thrombolytics. Multivariate analysis identified 2 independent risk factors for intraoperative incidental ICTs: the presence of symptomatic or surgically treated portal hypertension (a history of gastrointestinal bleeding, a transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt procedure, or portocaval shunt surgery) before OLT and intraoperative hemodialysis (odds ratios of 4.05 and 7.29, respectively; P < 0.05 for both). In conclusion, incidental ICTs during OLT occurred at a rate of 1.9% and were associated with several preoperative and intraoperative risk factors. The use of TEE allows early identification, which may be important. Our management for incidental ICTs is described; however, no conclusions can be made about the optimal therapy.
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