Background: Cold ischemia time and the presence of postoperative hepatic arterial thrombosis have been associated with biliary complications (BC) after liver transplantation. An ABO-incompatible blood group has also been suggested as a factor for predisposal towards BC. However, the influence of Rh nonidentity has not been studied previously.
Materials: Three hundred fifty six liver transplants were performed from 1995 to 2000 at our hospital. BC incidence and risk factors were studied in 345 patients.
Results: Seventy patients (20%) presented BC after liver transplantation. Bile leakage (24/45%) and stenotic anastomosis (21/30%) were the most frequent complications. Presence of BC in Rh-nonidentical graft-host cases (23/76, 30%) was higher than in Rh-identical grafts (47/269, 17%) (P=0.01). BC was also more frequent in grafts with arterial thrombosis (9/25, 36% vs 60/319, 19%; P=0.03) and grafts with cold ischemia time longer than 430 min (26/174, 15% vs 44/171, 26%; P=0.01). Multivariate logistic regression confirmed that Rh graft-host nonidentical blood groups [RR=2(1.1-3.6); P=0.02], arterial thrombosis [RR=2.6(1.1-6.4); P=0.02] and cold ischemia time longer than 430 min [RR=1.8(1-3.2); P=0.02] were risk factors for presenting BC.
Conclusion: Liver transplantation using Rh graft-host nonidentical blood groups leads to a greater incidence of BC.