Background: Intraoperative restrictive fluid management strategies might improve postoperative outcomes in liver transplantation. Effects of vasopressors within any hemodynamic management strategy are unclear.
Methods: We conducted an observational cohort study on adult liver transplant recipients between July 2008 and December 2017. We measured the effect of vasopressors infused at admission in the intensive care unit (ICU) and total intraoperative fluid balance. Our primary outcome was 48-hour acute kidney injury (AKI) and our secondary outcomes were 7-day AKI, need for postoperative renal replacement therapy (RRT), time to extubation in the ICU, time to ICU discharge and survival up to 1 year. We fitted models adjusted for confounders using generalized estimating equations or survival models using robust standard errors. We reported results with 95% confidence intervals.
Results: We included 532 patients. Vasopressors use was not associated with 48-hour or 7-day AKI but modified the effects of fluid balance on RRT and mortality. A higher fluid balance was associated with a higher need for RRT (OR = 1.52 [1.15, 2.01], p<0.001 for interaction) and lower survival (HR = 1.71 [1.26, 2.34], p<0.01 for interaction) only among patients without vasopressors. In patients with vasopressors, higher doses of vasopressors were associated with a higher mortality (HR = 1.29 [1.13, 1.49] per 10 μg/min of norepinephrine).
Conclusion: The presence of any vasopressor at the end of surgery was not associated with AKI or RRT. The use of vasopressors might modify the harmful association between fluid balance and other postoperative outcomes. The liberal use of vasopressors to implement a restrictive fluid management strategy deserves further investigation.