BACKGROUND: A growing discrepancy between the number of patients awaiting liver transplantation and the number of organs available mandates the use of even marginal organ donors in whom there is major risk of suboptimal graft function. A comprehensive analysis of operative parameters on the outcomes of liver transplantation has not been reported. STUDY DESIGN: We analyzed the impact of 24 operative variables on the survival of 942 consecutive primary liver allografts performed at a single center from June 1992 through December 1997. Univariate and Cox proportional hazards analysis was used to identify those variables with independent prognostic significance in graft survival. Resource utilization for variables with multivariate significance was also analyzed. RESULTS: Of 12 intraoperative variables found to have significance in univariate analysis, three were significant by Cox multivariate analysis: 1) lack of immediate bile production by the graft intraoperatively, 2) platelet transfusion ≥ 20 U, and 3) recipient urine output ≥2.0 mL/kg/h intraoperatively. Each of the three variables was associated with marked increases in hospital and Intensive Care Unit length of stay and hospital charges accrued during the admission for transplantation. CONCLUSION: We identified three operative parameters that predict a poor outcome after liver transplantation. The presence of these indicators suggests that early retransplantation should be considered. Early identification of grafts likely to have poor function might also provide an opportunity for therapeutic intervention to salvage graft function.
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