One thousand fifty-six hepatectomies without mortality in 8 years

Arch Surg. 2003 Nov;138(11):1198-206; discussion 1206. doi: 10.1001/archsurg.138.11.1198.


Background: Despite improvements in diagnostic and surgical techniques, operative mortality associated with liver resection is still greater than 2% in most of the recent studies.

Hypothesis: By refining preoperative and postoperative care and surgical skills, liver resection mortality can be decreased to zero.

Design: Retrospective cohort study to analyze postoperative morbidity and mortality in 1056 consecutive hepatectomies performed at a single medical center during 8 years.

Setting: Tertiary referral center.

Patients: A total of 915 patients who underwent 1056 consecutive hepatic resections: 532 for hepatocellular carcinoma, 262 for other primary and secondary liver malignancies, 57 for biliary tract malignancy, 174 for living donor liver transplantation, and 31 for other benign diseases.

Main outcome measures: Operative mortality and morbidity rates.

Results: No operative mortality occurred. Major complications, as defined by postoperative radiologic or surgical intervention, occurred in 3% of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma, 8% with other liver malignancy, 28% with biliary malignancy, and 5% of living donor liver transplantation donors. Using multiple logistic regression, independent risk factors associated with major complications were operative blood loss of 1000 mL or greater for hepatocellular carcinoma and total bilirubin level of 1.0 mg/dL or greater (>or=17 micro mol/L) and operative time greater than 6 hours for other liver malignancy. No independent factors associated with major complications were identified for biliary malignancy or for living donor liver transplantation donors among the variables investigated in this study.

Conclusions: Liver resection can be performed without mortality provided that it is carried out in a high-volume medical center by well-trained hepatobiliary surgeons paying meticulous attention to the balance between the liver functional reserve and the volume of liver to be removed.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Hepatectomy / methods
  • Hepatectomy / mortality*
  • Hepatectomy / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Liver Diseases / surgery*
  • Liver Transplantation / methods
  • Male
  • Perioperative Care / methods*
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications / mortality*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome