BACKGROUND: Whilst causes of hepatic artery thrombosis (HAT) after liver transplantation (LT) are multifactorial, early HAT (E-HAT) remains pertinent complication impacting on graft and patient survival. Currently there is no screening tool that would identify patients with increased risk of developing E-HAT.
METHODS: We analyzed the native procoagulant state of LT recipients, identified through pretransplant thromboelastographic (TEG) data among other known risk factors, to identify risk factors for E-HAT.
RESULTS: The outcomes of 828 adult patients undergoing LT between 2008 and 2013 were analyzed. Overall, 79 (9.5%) patients experienced HAT, E-HAT was diagnosed in 23, and in the remainder this was "late" HAT. The maximum amplitude (MA) on preoperative TEG was significantly higher in patients diagnosed with E-HAT compared with those who did not (71.2 mm vs 57.9 mm; P < 0.0001). Receiver operating characteristic analysis with the cutoff value for MA of 65 mm or greater returned area under the curve of 0.750 (P < 0.001) predicting E-HAT with a sensitivity of 70%. A total of 7% of patients with an MA of 65 mm or greater went on to develop E-HAT (hazard ratio, 5.28; 95% confidence interval, 2.10-12.29; P < 0.001), whereas only 1.2% patients with an MA less than 65 mm experienced E-HAT.
CONCLUSIONS: Preoperative TEG may reliably identify group of recipients at greater risk of developing E-HAT, and intense surveillance and anticoagulation prophylaxis may avoid this serious complication after LT.