Treatment of hepatic venous outflow obstruction after piggyback liver transplantation

Stephen L. Wang, Daniel Y. Sze, Stephan Busque, Mahmood K. Razavi, Stephen T. Kee, Joan K. Frisoli, Michael D. Dake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: To evaluate retrospectively the endovascular management of hepatic venous outflow obstruction after piggyback orthotopic liver transplantation. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The study was performed with the approval and under the guidelines of the institutional review board and complied with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Informed consent from patients was not required by the institutional review board for this retrospective study. From 1995 to 2003, 13 patients (eight male, five female), including 12 adults and one adolescent (age range, 14-67 years; median age, 52 years), underwent endovascular treatment of hepatic venous outflow obstruction after piggyback orthotopic liver transplantation. Patients gave informed consent for all procedures. Eleven patients received whole livers, and two received living-related donor right liver lobes. Four underwent repeat piggyback orthotopic liver transplantation prior to intervention. Primary stent placement was performed in 12 patients. One patient refused primary stent placement and chose venoplasty alone, but required a stent 5 months later. Short balloon-expandable stents (mean diameter, 14.6 mm ± 1.1 [standard deviation]) were used to minimize jailing of branch vessels and to resist recoil. Pre- and postprocedural pressure gradients were measured. Follow-up included venography, cross-sectional imaging, and laboratory tests. The Wilcoxon signed rank test or the sign test was performed to compare pre- and postprocedural pressure gradients, body weights, and laboratory values. RESULTS: Technical success (pressure gradient ≤ 3 mm Hg) was achieved in 13 of 13 patients, and clinical success, in 12 of 13. Mean pre- and postprocedural pressure gradients were 13.0 mm Hg ± 1.4 and 0.8 mm Hg ± 0.3. Mean interval from transplantation to intervention was 348 days ± 159. Mean follow-up was 678 days (range, 16-2880 days). Technical success did not result in clinical improvement in one patient. Biopsy demonstrated severe hepatic necrosis, likely from prolonged venous congestion, and the patient required repeat transplantation. Only one patient required reintervention for stent migration, and no other complications occurred. No significant restenosis was encountered after stent placement. CONCLUSION: Hepatic venous outflow obstruction is an uncommon but potentially fatal complication of piggyback orthotopic liver transplantation. Endovascular treatment with balloon-expandable stents is effective, safe, and apparently durable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)352-359
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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