Early diagnosis of primary nonfunction and indication for reoperation after liver transplantation

Liver Transpl. 2010 Feb;16(2):172-80. doi: 10.1002/lt.21973.


Initial graft function is a major factor influencing the clinical outcome after liver transplantation (LTX), but a reliable method for assessing and predicting graft dysfunction directly after LTX is not available. Ninety-nine patients undergoing deceased-donor LTX were studied in a prospective pilot study to evaluate the LiMAx test, the indocyanine green test, and conventional biochemical parameters with respect to their sensitivity and prognostic power for the diagnosis of initial graft dysfunction. Patients suffering from initial graft dysfunction (defined as technical complications or primary nonfunction (n = 8)) had significantly decreased LiMAx readouts (43 +/- 18 versus 184 +/- 98 mug/kg/hour, P < 0.001) immediately after LTX. Univariate analysis also showed significant differences for serum bilirubin, ammonia, glutamate dehydrogenase, and the international normalized ratio (P < 0.05), but multivariate analysis revealed LiMAx as the single independent predictor of initial dysfunction (P = 0.008) with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC) of 0.960 (95% confidence interval = 0.921-0.998, P < 0.001). In addition, the diagnosis of primary nonfunction (n = 3) was evaluated with LiMAx and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) activity on the first postoperative day. The calculated AUROC values were 0.992 (0.975-1.0, P = 0.004) for LiMAx and 0.967 (0.929-1.0, P = 0.006) for AST. By a combination of test results obtained directly after LTX and on the first day, LiMAx indicated primary nonfunction with a sensitivity of 1.0 (0.31-1.0) and a positive predictive value of 1.0 (0.31-1.0), whereas AST classification showed a sensitivity of 0.67 (0.13-0.98) and a positive predictive value of 0.29 (0.05-0.70). In conclusion, the assessment of initial graft function using the LiMAx test might be effective for identifying critical complications that could threaten graft survival within 24 hours after LTX.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Coloring Agents
  • Delayed Graft Function / diagnosis*
  • Delayed Graft Function / surgery*
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Indocyanine Green
  • Liver Diseases / surgery*
  • Liver Function Tests / methods*
  • Liver Transplantation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnosis
  • Postoperative Complications / surgery
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reoperation*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Coloring Agents
  • Indocyanine Green