A small number of liver transplant candidates experience variceal bleeding that cannot be controlled by standard medical therapy. The objective of this study was to analyze the role of urgent liver transplantation for this subset of patients with acute, refractory, portal hypertensive bleeding.Retrospective review of data from 416 patients undergoing 449 liver transplantations between March, 1988 and February, 1993 revealed seven patients (1.7%) with endstage liver disease who underwent transplantation for uncontrollable variceal bleeding. All patients failed therapy with intravenous pitressin, endoscopic sclerotherapy, balloon tamponade, and/or transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt and continued to bleed. Patients ranged in age from 6 months to 56 years. All patients were Child's class C. Two patients were listed for transplantation with the United Network for Organ Sharing as status 3, and five patients were listed as status 4.All patients underwent successful liver transplantation with immediate control of bleeding. One patient expired on the 26th postoperative day from multiple organ failure, and another patient expired with recurrent hepatocellular carcinoma on the 110th postoperative day. No patients experienced late rebleeding from varices after transplantation.Urgent liver transplantation is effective and feasible for the small subset of patients with uncontrollable variceal bleeding and endstage liver disease. Prompt and complete evaluation of the potential recipient and availability of a donor organ are critical to the success of this approach.
View details for Web of Science ID A1994PK76700014
View details for PubMedID 7942675