Intensive care management of liver transplant recipients

Curr Opin Crit Care. 2022 Dec 1;28(6):709-714. doi: 10.1097/MCC.0000000000001002. Epub 2022 Oct 13.


Purpose of review: Liver transplantation remains the only definitive treatment for advanced liver disease and liver failure. Current allocation schemes utilized for liver transplantation mandate a 'sickest first' approach, thus most liver transplants occur in patients with severe systemic illness. For intensive care providers who care for liver transplant recipients, a foundation of knowledge of technical considerations of orthotopic liver transplantation, basic management considerations, and common complications is essential. This review highlights the authors' approach to intensive care management of the postoperative liver transplant recipient with a review of common issues, which arise in this patient population.

Recent findings: The number of centers offering liver transplantation continues to increase globally and the number of patients receiving liver transplantation also continues to increase. The number of patients with advanced liver disease far outpaces organ availability and, therefore, patients undergoing liver transplant are sicker at the time of transplant. Outcomes for liver transplant patients continue to improve owing to advancements in surgical technique, immunosuppression management, and intensive care management of liver disease both pretransplant and posttransplant.

Summary: Given a global increase in liver transplantation, an increasing number of intensive care professionals are likely to care for this patient population. For these providers, a foundational knowledge of the common complications and key management considerations is essential.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Critical Care
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppression Therapy
  • Liver Diseases*
  • Liver Failure*
  • Liver Transplantation*