Published online Jan 27, 2013. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v5.i1.26
Revised: September 8, 2012
Accepted: November 14, 2012
Published online: January 27, 2013
AIM: To determine feasibility of liver transplantation in patients from the intensive care unit (ICU) by estimating graft and patient survival.
METHODS: This single center retrospective study included 39 patients who had their first liver transplant directly from the intensive care unit and 927 non-ICU patients who were transplanted from hospital ward or home between January 2005 and December 2010.
RESULTS: In comparison to non-ICU patients, ICU patients had a higher model for end-stage liver disease (MELD) at transplant (median: 37 vs 20, P < 0.001). Fourteen out of 39 patients (36%) required vasopressor support immediately prior to liver transplantation (LT) with 6 patients (15%) requiring both vasopressin and norepinephrine. Sixteen ICU patients (41%) were ventilator dependent immediately prior to LT with 9 patients undergoing percutaneous tracheostomy prior to transplantation. Twenty-five ICU patients (64%) required dialysis preoperatively. At 1, 3 and 5 years after LT, graft survival was 76%, 68% and 62% in ICU patients vs 90%, 81% and 75% in non-ICU patients. Patient survival at 1, 3 and 5 years after LT was 78%, 70% and 65% in ICU patients vs 94%, 85% and 79% in non-ICU patients. When formally comparing graft survival and patient survival between ICU and non-ICU patients using Cox proportional hazards regression models, both graft survival [relative risk (RR): 1.94, 95%CI: 1.09-3.48, P = 0.026] and patient survival (RR: 2.32, 95%CI: 1.26-4.27, P = 0.007) were lower in ICU patients vs non-ICU patients in single variable analysis. These findings were consistent in multivariable analysis. Although not statistically significant, graft survival was worse in both patients with cryptogenic cirrhosis (RR: 3.29, P = 0.056) and patients who received donor after cardiac death (DCD) grafts (RR: 3.38, P = 0.060). These findings reached statistical significance when considering patient survival, which was worse for patients with cryptogenic cirrhosis (RR: 3.97, P = 0.031) and patients who were transplanted with DCD livers (RR: 4.19, P = 0.033). Graft survival and patient survival were not significantly worse for patients on mechanical ventilation (RR: 0.91, P = 0.88 in graft loss; RR: 0.69, P = 0.56 in death) or patients on vasopressors (RR: 1.06, P = 0.93 in graft loss; RR: 1.24, P = 0.74 in death) immediately prior to LT. Trends toward lower graft survival and patient survival were observed for patients on dialysis immediately before LT, however these findings did not approach statistical significance (RR: 1.70, P = 0.43 in graft loss; RR: 1.46, P = 0.58 in death).
CONCLUSION: Although ICU patients when compared to non-ICU patients have lower survivals, outcomes are still acceptable. Pre-transplant ventilation, hemodialysis, and vasopressors were not associated with adverse outcomes.