Intraoperative Vasoactive Medications and Perioperative Outcomes in Liver Transplantation: A Systematic Review and Network Meta-analyses

Transplantation. 2024 Apr 1;108(4):854-873. doi: 10.1097/TP.0000000000004744. Epub 2023 Aug 1.


We conducted a systematic review and network meta-analyses evaluating the effects of different intraoperative vasoactive drugs on acute kidney injury (AKI) and other perioperative outcomes in adult liver transplant recipients. We searched multiple electronic databases using words from the "liver transplantation" and "vasoactive drug" domains. We included all randomized controlled trials conducted in adult liver transplant recipients comparing 2 different intravenous vasoactive drugs or 1 against a standard of care that reported AKI, intraoperative blood loss, or any other postoperative outcome. We conducted 4 frequentist network meta-analyses using random effect models, based on the interventions' mechanism of action, and evaluated the quality of evidence (QoE) using Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluations recommendations. We included 9 randomized controlled trials comparing different vasopressor drugs (vasoconstrictor or inotrope), 3 comparing a somatostatin infusion (or its analogues) to a standard of care, 11 comparing different vasodilator infusions together or against a standard of care, and 2 comparing vasoconstrictor boluses at graft reperfusion. Intravenous clonidine was associated with shorter duration of mechanical ventilation, intensive care unit, and hospital length of stay (very low QoE), and some vasodilators were associated with lower creatinine level 24 h after surgery (low to very low QoE). Phenylephrine and terlipressin were associated with less intraoperative blood loss when compared with norepinephrine (low and moderate QoE). None of the vasoactive drugs improve any other postoperative outcomes, including AKI. There is still important equipoise regarding the best vasoactive drug to use in liver transplantation for most outcomes. Further studies are required to better inform clinical practice.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury* / drug therapy
  • Acute Kidney Injury* / etiology
  • Adult
  • Blood Loss, Surgical
  • Humans
  • Liver Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Network Meta-Analysis
  • Vasoconstrictor Agents / adverse effects
  • Vasodilator Agents


  • Vasoconstrictor Agents
  • Vasodilator Agents