Aim: To investigate contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) for early diagnosis of postoperative vascular complications after right-lobe living donor liver transplantation (RLDLT).
Methods: The ultrasonography results of 172 patients who underwent RLDLT in West China Hospital, Sichuan University from January 2005 to June 2008 were analyzed retrospectively. Among these 172 patients, 16 patients' hepatic artery flow and two patients' portal vein flow was not observed by Doppler ultrasound, and 10 patients' bridging vein flow was not shown by Doppler ultrasound and there was a regional inhomogeneous echo in the liver parenchyma upon 2D ultrasound. Thus, CEUS examination was performed in these 28 patients.
Results: Among the 16 patients without hepatic artery flow at Doppler ultrasound, CEUS showed nine cases of slender hepatic artery, six of hepatic arterial thrombosis that was confirmed by digital subtraction angiography and/or surgery, and one of hepatic arterial occlusion with formation of lateral branches. Among the two patients without portal vein flow at Doppler ultrasound, CEUS showed one case of hematoma compression and one of portal vein thrombosis, and both were confirmed by surgery. Among the 10 patients without bridging vein flow and with liver parenchyma inhomogeneous echo, CEUS showed regionally poor perfusion in the inhomogeneous area, two of which were confirmed by enhanced computed tomography (CT), but no more additional information about bridging vein flow was provided by enhanced CT.
Conclusion: CEUS may be a new approach for early diagnosis of postoperative vascular complications after RLDLT, and it can be performed at the bedside.