Peritransplant pancreatitis: A marker of high mortality and graft failure in liver transplant patients

Tara A. Russell, Sarah Park, Vatche G. Agopian, Ali Zarrinpar, Douglas G. Farmer, Sean O'Neill, Islam Korayem, Samer Ebaid, Jeffrey Gornbein, Ronald W. Busuttil, Fady M. Kaldas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Perioperative pancreatitis is a significant comorbid condition in surgical patients. However, the degree to which pancreatitis affects graft and overall survival in liver transplant recipients has not been evaluated. This study assesses the impact of pancreatitis on graft and patient survival in adult orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT). All patients undergoing OLT at a single academic institution from 2007 to 2015 were reviewed. Pancreatitis was classified by method of diagnosis (intraoperative/radiographic [IO/R] versus isolated serologic diagnosis) and timing (preoperative versus postoperative diagnosis). Twenty-three patients were identified with peritransplant pancreatitis (within 30 days preoperatively or postoperatively). A control group of patients without pancreatitis undergoing OLT was composed of 775 patients. Graft failure/death rates for patients with versus without pancreatitis were 7.4% versus 7.4% at 30 days, 33.3% versus 12.6% at 90 days, and 44.4% versus 26.9% at 12 months. Four patients with pancreatitis (17.4%) required emergent retransplantation and subsequently died within 90 days of their second transplant. Overall, 6 patients with pancreatitis (26.1%) died within 90 days of transplantation. Patients with pancreatitis had a hazard ratio (HR) for death or graft failure of 2.28 as compared with controls (P < 0.01). The effect of pancreatitis is most pronounced among those diagnosed by IO/R findings, with an adjusted HR of 2.53 (P < 0.01) and those diagnosed in the postoperative period, adjusted HR of 2.57 (P = 0.01). In conclusion, perioperative pancreatitis is associated with early graft failure and patient mortality, regardless of the method or timing of the diagnosis. Given these results, IO/R findings of pancreatitis should induce caution and potentially preclude OLT until resolved. Liver Transplantation 23 925–932 2017 AASLD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)925-932
Number of pages8
JournalLiver Transplantation
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Hepatology
  • Transplantation


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