To ascertain whether postoperative antiplatelet therapy could reduce the incidence of hepatic artery thrombosis (HAT) after liver transplantation (LT), 838 consecutive adult whole-graft LTs performed from April 1986 to August 2005 that survived beyond the first postoperative month were reviewed. Antiplatelet prophylaxis with aspirin (100 mg per day) was given following 236 LTs; the median starting time was 8 postoperative days (range, 1 to 29 days). Early HAT was observed in 29 cases. The median time of presentation was 5 postoperative days (range, 1-28 days), and the effect of aspirin on this type of complication was therefore not assessable. A total of 14 cases of late HAT were observed (1.67 %). The median time of presentation was 500.5 days (range, 50-2,405 days). Late HAT occurred in 1 out of 236 (0.4 %) patients who were maintained under antiplatelet prophylaxis and in 13 out of 592 (2.2 %) who did not receive prophylaxis (P = 0.049). Risk factors for late HAT (grafts retrieved from donors who died of cerebrovascular accident and/or use of iliac conduit at transplantation) were present in 498 LTs: in this group the incidence of late HAT was significantly higher among cases who did not receive prophylaxis (12/338 vs 1/160; p = 0.037). There were no hemorrhagic complications associated with the use of aspirin. In conclusion,antiplatelet prophylaxis can effectively reduce the incidence of late HAT after LT, particularly in those patients at risk for this complication.
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