Rotation thromboelastometry velocity curve predicts blood loss during liver transplantation

Br J Anaesth. 2016 Dec;117(6):741-748. doi: 10.1093/bja/aew344.


Background: Patients undergoing liver transplantation (LT) have a high risk of bleeding. The goal of this study was to assess whether the first derivative of the velocity waveform (V-curve) generated by whole blood rotation thromboelastometry (ROTEM®) can predict blood loss during LT.

Methods: Preoperative V-curve parameters were retrospectively evaluated in 198 patients. Patients were divided into quartiles based on blood loss: low (LBL) in the first quartile and high (HBL) in the higher quartiles. A subgroup analysis was performed with patients stratified according to cirrhosis aetiology. A logistic regression model and receiver operator characteristics (ROC) curve were used to test the capacity of the V-curve, to discriminate between LBL and HBL.

Results: In the HBL group, the V-curve showed a lower maximum velocity of clot generation (MaxVel), a lower area under maximum velocity curve (AUC), and a higher time-to-maximum velocity (t-MaxVel) than in the LBL group. t-MaxVel was the only parameter showing a capacity to discriminate between the two groups, with a ROC area of 0.69 (95% CI; 0.62-0.74). The ROC area was 0.78 (95% CI; 0.75-0.83) for the 148 patients with cirrhosis, 0.73 (0.60-0.82) for patients with viral hepatitis and 0.83 (0.78-0.96) for patients with alcoholic hepatitis, the group that showed the best discriminative capacity. Moderate but significant correlations were found between all parameters of V-curve and BL.

Conclusions: Pre-transplant V-curve obtained from ROTEM is a promising tool for predicting BL risk during LT, particularly in patients with cirrhosis.

Keywords: clot formation; liver transplantation; thrombin generation; viscoelastic assays.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Loss, Surgical / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spain
  • Thrombelastography / methods*
  • Thrombelastography / statistics & numerical data*