Evaluation of preoperative hepatic function in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma undergoing hepatectomy

Br J Surg. 1997 Sep;84(9):1255-9.


Background: Postoperative hepatic failure is the leading cause of hospital mortality following hepatectomy for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). This prospective study was performed to identify the best test for assessment of the adequacy of hepatic functional reserve in patients with HCC before hepatectomy.

Methods: Between April 1989 and June 1993, 127 patients with HCC underwent hepatectomy. Each patient was evaluated before operation with the indocyanine green (ICG) clearance test, the aminopyrine breath test and the amino acid clearance test.

Results: Fourteen patients (11 per cent) died after hepatectomy. ICG retention at 15 min showed significant differences between patients who survived or died. By discriminant analysis, the safety limit of ICG retention at 15 min for major hepatectomy was 14 per cent and the relative risk of hospital mortality was 3.

Conclusion: The ICG clearance test, expressed as the percentage of ICG retained at 15 min, is the best discriminating preoperative test for evaluating hepatic functional reserve in patients with HCC before hepatectomy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breath Tests
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / physiopathology
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / surgery*
  • Hepatectomy / methods
  • Hepatectomy / mortality*
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Indocyanine Green
  • Liver Function Tests
  • Liver Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Liver Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Middle Aged
  • Preoperative Care
  • Prospective Studies


  • Indocyanine Green