Cirrhosis and non-hepatic surgery in 2023 - a precision medicine approach

Expert Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2023 Feb;17(2):155-173. doi: 10.1080/17474124.2023.2163627. Epub 2023 Feb 13.


Introduction: Patients with liver disease and portal hypertension frequently require surgery carrying high morbidity and mortality. Accurately estimating surgical risk remains challenging despite improved medical and surgical management.

Areas covered: This review aims to outline a comprehensive approach to preoperative assessment, appraise methods used to predict surgical risk, and provide an up-to-date overview of outcomes for patients with cirrhosis undergoing non-hepatic surgery.

Expert opinion: Robust preoperative, individually tailored, and precise risk assessment can reduce peri- and postoperative complications in patients with cirrhosis. Established prognostic scores aid stratification, providing an estimation of postoperative mortality, albeit with limitations. VOCAL-Penn Risk Score may provide greater precision than established liver severity scores. Amelioration of portal hypertension in advance of surgery may be considered, with prospective data demonstrating hepatic venous pressure gradient as a promising surrogate marker of postoperative outcomes. Morbidity and mortality vary between types of surgery with further studies required in patients with more advanced liver disease. Patient-specific considerations and practicing precision medicine may allow for improved postoperative outcomes.

Keywords: VOCAL-Penn; liver cirrhosis; liver prognostic scores; non-hepatic surgery; portal hypertension; surgery; surgical risk scores.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Fibrosis
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Portal* / etiology
  • Hypertension, Portal* / surgery
  • Liver Cirrhosis / surgery
  • Precision Medicine*
  • Prospective Studies