Background: Increased systemic fibrinolytic activity can occur in liver transplant recipients after the donor graft is reperfused. However, it remains unclear whether this is related solely to tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) levels or whether unique metabolic changes can alter t-PA activity and enhance fibrinolytic activity. We hypothesise that an increase in sensitivity to t-PA-mediated fibrinolysis (StF) following liver reperfusion is associated with specific metabolic abnormalities.
Materials and methods: Liver transplant recipients had serial blood samples analysed with a modified thrombelastography assay using exogenous t-PA to measure sensitivity/resistance to fibrinolysis with the lysis 30 min after maximum clot strength (tLY30). Paired plasma samples were analysed with mass spectroscopy-based metabolomics. The tLY30 was correlated to metabolites using Spearman's rho. StF was defined as a tLY30 change of >8.5% from the anhepatic phase to 30 min after reperfusion based on the distribution of tLY30 in a healthy control population.
Results: StF occurred in 53% of patients. Cohorts had similar MELD scores (18 vs 16, p=0.876) and tLY30 at baseline (p=0.867) and anhepatic phase of surgery (p=0.463). Thirty min after reperfusion, the tLY30 was 73% in patient with StF vs 33% in those without StF 33% (p=0.006). StF was associated with increased red blood cell transfusions (p=0.035), during the first 2 hours of reperfusion. Nine metabolites demonstrated a correlation with tLY30 (p<0.05).
Discussion: StF is a transient event that resolves within 2 hours of graft reperfusion and is associated with increased blood product use. This phenomenon correlates with derangements in citric acid cycle, purine and amino acid metabolism. Future research is needed to determine whether these metabolites are biomarkers or mechanistically linked to increased sensitivity to t-PA-mediated fibrinolytic activity following graft reperfusion.