Orthotopic liver transplantation: postoperative complications and their management

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • R M Kirby
  • P McMaster
  • D Clements
  • L Angrisani
  • M Sealey
  • B K Gunson
  • P J Salt
  • J A Buckels


The Birmingham liver transplant programme started in 1982. Forty-six patients have been transplanted with a follow-up of 3 months or longer. Twenty-seven patients are still alive, of whom sixteen have lived for more than one year. The 30 day hospital mortality was 30.4 per cent and the actuarial predicted one year survival 55.5 per cent. Four patients have been regrafted for chronic rejection and graft failure. Thirteen patients have required surgery in the postoperative period for: bleeding (two), removal of abdominal packs (four), biliary leaks and obstruction (five), duodenal perforation (one) and small bowel obstruction (one). Acute rejection was common, occurring in 30 patients and progressing to chronic rejection in 4. Ten patients developed renal failure with an 80 per cent mortality and eleven patients developed grand mal fits. Severe bleeding (greater than 70 units) was associated with previous abdominal surgery and a high mortality (88.9 per cent). Opportunistic fungal infection carried a 100 per cent mortality. Although more than half of all transplanted patients will survive for more than one year, the postoperative period is still one of high morbidity and mortality.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-11
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of Surgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1987


  • Acute Kidney Injury, Adolescent, Adult, Child, Cholangitis, Epilepsy, Tonic-Clonic, Graft Rejection, Hemorrhage, Humans, Liver Diseases, Liver Function Tests, Liver Transplantation, Middle Aged, Opportunistic Infections, Postoperative Complications, Reoperation