Background. Although hepatic resection is the most reliable treatment for hepatocellular carcinoma, impaired liver function because of cirrhosis or chronic hepatitis contributes to relatively high rates of postoperative complications. We have reviewed a series of hepatectomies at our institution and investigated risk factors for complications after hepatectomy in patients with impaired liver compared with patients with normal liver. Methods. From October 1994 to March 1998, 277 hepatectomies for hepatocellular carcinoma, cholangiocellular carcinoma, metastatic liver tumors, and other hepatic diseases were performed. In an attempt to clarify the safety of hepatectomy for the impaired liver at our institution, we did a comparative study of postoperative complications after hepatectomy in 2 groups: patients with impaired livers (187 hepatectomies) and patients with normal livers (90 hepatectomies). Results. Of the 277 hepatectomies, bile leakage occurred in 25 patients (16 in impaired livers vs 9 in normal livers), abdominal infection in 45 patients (30 vs 15 patients), wound infection in 13 patients (9 vs 4 patients), pleural effusion in 52 patients (35 vs 17 patients), atelectasis in 26 patients (17 vs 9 patients), pneumonia in 4 patients (3 vs 1 patients), ileus in 6 patients (3 vs 3 patients), intra-abdominal hemorrhage in 3 patients (0 vs 3 patients), and hyperbilirubinemia in 5 patients (4 vs 1 patients). Hepatic insufficiency and hospital death were not experienced in this series. The mean postoperative hospital stay was 22.9 days (23.5 vs 23.1 days), and except for intra-abdominal hemorrhage there was no statistically significant difference between the 2 groups. Conclusions. Hepatectomy for the impaired liver is now as safe a procedure as for the normal liver, provided the overall guidelines outlined in our algorithm are followed.
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