European Society of Pediatric Radiology survey of perioperative imaging in pediatric liver transplantation: (3) postoperative imaging

Pediatr Radiol. 2024 Feb;54(2):276-284. doi: 10.1007/s00247-023-05842-z. Epub 2024 Jan 29.


Background: Liver transplantation is the state-of-the-art curative treatment for end-stage liver disease. Imaging is a key element in the detection of postoperative complications. So far, limited data is available regarding the best radiologic approach to monitor children after liver transplantation.

Objective: To harmonize the imaging of pediatric liver transplantation, the European Society of Pediatric Radiology Abdominal Taskforce initiated a survey addressing the current status of imaging including the pre-, intra-, and postoperative phases. This paper reports the responses related to postoperative imaging.

Materials and methods: An online survey, initiated in 2021, asked European centers performing pediatric liver transplantation 48 questions about their imaging approach. In total, 26 centers were contacted, and 22 institutions from 11 countries returned the survey.

Results: All sites commence ultrasound (US) monitoring within 24 h after liver transplantation. Monitoring frequency varies across sites, ranging from every 8 h to 72 h in early, and from daily to sporadic use in late postoperative phases. Predefined US protocols are used by 73% of sites. This commonly includes gray scale, color Doppler, and quantitative flow assessment. Alternative flow imaging techniques, contrast-enhanced US, and elastography are applied at 31.8%, 18.2%, and 63.6% of sites, respectively. Computed tomography is performed at 86.4% of sites when clarification is needed. Magnetic resonance imaging is used for selected cases at 36.4% of sites, mainly for assessment of biliary abnormalities or when blood tests are abnormal.

Conclusion: Diagnostic imaging is extensively used for postoperative surveillance of children after liver transplantation. While US is generally prioritized, substantial differences were noted in US protocol, timing, and monitoring frequency. The study highlights potential areas for future optimization and standardization of imaging, essential for conducting multicenter studies.

Keywords: Child; Computed tomography; Liver transplantation; Magnetic resonance imaging; Ultrasonography.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Humans
  • Liver Transplantation*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnostic imaging
  • Radiology*
  • Ultrasonography
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler