Early hepatic artery thrombosis after liver transplantation: a systematic review of the incidence, outcome and risk factors

Am J Transplant. 2009 Apr;9(4):746-57. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-6143.2008.02541.x. Epub 2009 Mar 2.


To clarify inconsistencies in the literature we performed a systematic review to identify the incidence, risk factors and outcome of early hepatic artery thrombosis (eHAT) after liver transplantation. We searched studies identified from databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, Science Citation Index) and references of identified studies. Seventy-one studies out of 999 screened abstracts were eligible for this systematic review. The incidence of eHAT was 4.4% (843/21, 822); in children 8.3% and 2.9% in adults (p < 0.001). Doppler ultrasound screening (DUS) protocols varied from 'no routine' to 'three times a day.' The median time to detection was at day seven. The overall retransplantation rate was 53.1% and was higher in children (61.9%) than in adults (50%, p < 0.03). The overall mortality rate of patients with eHAT was 33.3% (range: 0-80%). Mortality in adults (34.3%) was higher than in children (25%, p < 0.03). The reported risk factors for eHAT were, cytomegalovirus mismatch (seropositive donor liver in seronegative recipient), retransplantation, arterial conduits, prolonged operation time, low recipient weight, variant arterial anatomy, and low volume transplantation centers. eHAT is associated with significant graft loss and mortality. Uniform definitions of eHAT and uniform treatment modalities are obligatory to confirm these results and to obtain a better understanding of this disastrous complication.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Graft Rejection / epidemiology
  • Graft Rejection / surgery
  • Hepatic Artery / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Liver Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Liver Transplantation / mortality
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications / mortality
  • Postoperative Complications / surgery
  • Reoperation / mortality
  • Reoperation / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Analysis
  • Survivors
  • Thrombosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Thrombosis / epidemiology*
  • Thrombosis / mortality
  • Thrombosis / surgery
  • Treatment Failure
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography