Risk factors for central pontine and extrapontine myelinolysis following orthotopic liver transplantation

Eur Neurol. 2009;62(6):362-8. doi: 10.1159/000242426. Epub 2009 Sep 30.


Background: Central pontine myelinolysis (CPM)/extrapontine myelinolysis (EPM) is one of the most serious neurological complications that can occur after orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT). We analyzed the risk factors for CPM/EPM in OLT patients.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the records of 1,247 patients who underwent OLT between 1992 and 2005. We compared demographic, clinical and biological parameters of patients with CPM/EPM with those of age-, sex- and operation date-matched patients without CPM/EPM (controls).

Results: Of 1,247 patients, 11 (0.88%) were diagnosed with CPM/EPM based on neuroimaging findings. A higher Model for End-Stage Liver Disease-Na score, preoperative hyponatremia and hypocholesterolemia, as well as greater changes in electrolytes, especially sodium, during surgery, were observed in the CPM/EPM group (p < 0.05).

Conclusion: CPM/EPM after OLT is more likely to occur in patients with more severe preoperative liver dysfunction and greater changes in electrolyte imbalance, especially sodium, during surgery.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyponatremia / complications
  • Liver Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Intraoperative
  • Myelinolysis, Central Pontine / complications*
  • Myelinolysis, Central Pontine / diagnosis
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Risk Factors
  • Statistics, Nonparametric