Restrictive fluid management strategies and outcomes in liver transplantation: a systematic review

Can J Anaesth. 2020 Jan;67(1):109-127. doi: 10.1007/s12630-019-01480-y. Epub 2019 Sep 25.


Purpose: Restrictive fluid management strategies have been proposed to reduce complications in liver transplant recipients. We conducted a systematic review to evaluate the effects of restrictive perioperative fluid management strategies, compared with liberal ones, on postoperative outcomes in adult liver transplant recipients. Our primary outcome was acute kidney injury (AKI). Our secondary outcomes were bleeding, mortality, and other postoperative complications.

Source: We searched major databases (CINAHL, EMB Reviews, EMBASE, MEDLINE, and the grey literature) from their inception to 10 July 2018 for randomized-controlled trials (RCTs) and observational studies comparing two fluid management strategies (or observational studies reporting two outcomes with available data on fluid volume received) in adult liver transplant recipients. Study selection, data abstraction, and risk of bias assessment were performed by at least two investigators. Data from RCTs were pooled using risk ratios (RR) and mean differences (MD) with random-effect models.

Principal findings: We found seven RCTs and 29 observational studies. Based on RCTs, fluid management strategies did not have any effect on AKI, mortality, or any other postoperative complications. Intraoperative RCTs suggested that a restrictive fluid management strategy reduced pulmonary complications (RR, 0.69; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.47 to 0.99; n = 283; I2 = 27%), duration of mechanical ventilation (MD, -13.04 hr; 95% CI, -22.2 to -3.88; n = 130; I2 = 0%) and blood loss (MD, -1.14 L; 95% CI, -1.72 to -0.57; n = 151; I2 = 0%).

Conclusion: Based on low or very low levels of evidence, we did not find any association between restrictive fluid management strategies and AKI, but we observed possible protective effects of intraoperative restrictive fluid management strategies on other outcomes.

Trial registration: PROSPERO (CRD42017054970); registered 18 May, 2017.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury*
  • Adult
  • Fluid Therapy*
  • Humans
  • Liver Transplantation*
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control