The effect of aprotinin on renal function in orthotopic liver transplantation

Transplantation. 2001 Jan 27;71(2):247-52. doi: 10.1097/00007890-200101270-00014.


Background: In the European Multicenter Study on the Use of Aprotinin in Liver Transplantation (EMSALT), a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, prospective study, we demonstrated that aprotinin significantly reduces intraoperative blood loss during orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT). Aprotinin is metabolized in the kidney and potentially nephrotoxic at high concentrations. Renal insufficiency is a common and serious complication after OLT. It is unknown whether aprotinin increases the risk of renal failure after OLT.

Methods: We analyzed intraoperative urine output, need for postoperative dialysis, perioperative serum creatinine levels, and creatinine clearance in 93 patients enrolled in EMSALT, receiving a high dose of aprotinin, a regular dose, or placebo.

Results: Peak increase in serum creatinine exceeding 0.5 mg/dl during one of the postoperative days occurred in 11 (35%) patients in the placebo group, in 11 (34%) patients in the high-dose group, but only in 1 (3%) patient in the regular-dose group (P=0.007). Furthermore, a perioperative decrease in creatinine clearance was seen in the placebo group (-23.9+/-10.1 ml/min) but not in both high-dose (-1.6+/-13.3 ml/min) and regular-dose (9.7+/-10.3 ml/min) groups (P<0.02 comparing regular-dose and placebo group).

Conclusions: Despite its potential nephrotoxicity, the use of aprotinin for reducing blood loss during OLT does not lead to a higher incidence of postoperative renal insufficiency. In combination with the observed reduction in blood loss, these findings support the prophylactic use of regular-dose aprotinin during OLT.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aprotinin / adverse effects*
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Creatinine / urine
  • Electrolytes / urine
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney / drug effects*
  • Kidney / physiology*
  • Liver Transplantation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Time Factors


  • Electrolytes
  • Aprotinin
  • Creatinine