Early mortality in liver transplantation: bilirubin as predictor of outcome


The shortage of donor organs and the long waiting lists have increased the need to better select liver transplant candidates using predictors of success. We reviewed the results of 29 liver transplantations performed from January 2002 to February 2003 analyzing the correlations with early mortality (30 days) of patient data, pretransplant laboratory data, warm ischemia time, intraoperations blood unit transfusions, and postoperative complications of prolonged mechanical ventilation, dialysis, and infection. Overall early mortality was 27.6% and 44% in fulminant hepatic failure (n = 9), there were four retransplants with one death, and two intraoperative deaths. Only pretransplant bilirubin (P = .045) and postoperative lactate levels (P = .002) were significantly different between alive versus dead patients. In this small population bilirubin was more related to death than the MELD score. Lactate levels, nonspecific predictor of death in shock syndromes were probably related to septic complications.