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Anesthesiology and Pain Management - Critical Care and Emergency Medicine - Gastroenterology and Hepatology - Respiratory Medicine - Surgery

Pre-Operative Risk Factors Predict Post-Operative Respiratory Failure after Liver Transplantation
Published: Monday, August 01, 2011
Author: Ching-Tzu Huang et al.

by Ching-Tzu Huang, Horng-Chyuan Lin, Shi-Chuan Chang, Wei-Chen Lee


Post-operative pulmonary complications significantly affect patient survival rates, but there is still no conclusive evidence regarding the effect of post-operative respiratory failure after liver transplantation on patient prognosis. This study aimed to predict the risk factors for post-operative respiratory failure (PRF) after liver transplantation and the impact on short-term survival rates.


The retrospective observational cohort study was conducted in a twelve-bed adult surgical intensive care unit in northern Taiwan. The medical records of 147 liver transplant patients were reviewed from September 2002 to July 2007. Sixty-two experienced post-operative respiratory failure while the remaining 85 patients did not.

Measurements and Main Results

Gender, age, etiology, disease history, pre-operative ventilator use, molecular adsorbent re-circulating system (MARS) use, source of organ transplantation, model for end-stage liver disease score (MELD) and Child-Turcotte-Pugh score calculated immediately before surgery were assessed for the two groups. The length of the intensive care unit stay, admission duration, and mortality within 30 days, 3 months, and 1 year were also evaluated. Using a logistic regression model, post-operative respiratory failure correlated with diabetes mellitus prior to liver transplantation, pre-operative impaired renal function, pre-operative ventilator use, pre-operative MARS use and deceased donor source of organ transplantation (p<0.05). Once liver transplant patients developed PRF, their length of ICU stay and admission duration were prolonged, significantly increasing their mortality and morbidity (p<0.001).


The predictive pre-operative risk factors significantly influenced the occurrence of post-operative respiratory failure after liver transplantation.