Perioperative thromboprophylaxis in liver transplant patients

Lesley De Pietri, Roberto Montalti, Daniele Nicolini, Roberto Ivan Troisi, Federico Moccheggiani, Marco Vivarelli

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Improvements in surgical and anesthetic procedures have increased patient survival after liver transplantation (LT). However, the perioperative period of LT can still be affected by several complications. Among these, thromboembolic complications (intracardiac thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, hepatic artery and portal vein thrombosis) are relatively common causes of increased morbidity and mortality. The benefit of thromboprophylaxis in general surgical patients has already been established, but it is not the standard of care in LT recipients. LT is associated with a high bleeding risk, as it is performed in a setting of already unstable hemostasis. For this reason, the role of routine perioperative prophylactic anticoagulation is usually restricted. However, recent data have shown that the bleeding tendency of cirrhotic patients is not an expression of an acquired bleeding disorder but rather of coexisting factors (portal hypertension, hypervolemia and infections). Furthermore, in cirrhotic patients, the new paradigm of "rebalanced hemostasis" can easily tip towards hypercoagulability because of the recently described enhanced thrombin generation, procoagulant changes in fibrin structure and platelet hyperreactivity. This new coagulation balance, along with improvements in surgical techniques and critical support, has led to a dramatic reduction in transfusion requirements, and the intraoperative thromboembolic-favoring factors (venous stasis, vessels clamping, surgical injury) have increased the awareness of thrombotic complications and led clinicians to reconsider the limited use of anticoagulants or antiplatelets in the postoperative period of LT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2931-2948
Number of pages18
JournalWorld Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number27
Publication statusPublished - Jul 21 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Anticoagulation
  • Antiplatelets
  • Coagulation
  • Heparin
  • Hepatic artery thrombosis
  • Liver transplantation
  • Portal vein thrombosis
  • Thromboelastography
  • Thromboprophylaxis
  • Thrombosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology

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