Phenomenology and Emotional Impact of Neuropsychiatric Symptoms in Orthotopic Liver Transplant for Hepatocellular Carcinoma

L. Gangeri, M. Bosisio, C. Brunelli, M. Tamburini, P. Serafin, C. A. Clerici, A. Caraceni, V. Mazzaferro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Few studies have focused on neuropsychiatric symptoms like hallucinations or delusions occurring in the early posttransplant period. The aim of this study was to estimate the percentage of patients reporting neuropsychiatric symptoms in the immediate postoperative phase, to describe the phenomenology, and to evaluate the emotional impact of such disorders. Method: We studied 94 consecutive patients who underwent orthotopic liver transplant (OLT) for hepatocellular carcinoma at least 30 days prior. The presence of neuropsychiatric symptoms were retrospectively evaluated through a semistructured interview. Results: Overall 49 patients (52%) reported various postoperative neuropsychiatric symptoms. None of the demographic and clinical variables showed significant associations, except for barbiturate administration; patients using barbiturates showed a lower percentage of neuropsychiatric symptoms. It was a time-limited phenomenon that in most cases resolved by day 7 after transplantation. Interestingly, the most frequent emotion perceived was surprise and not fear; a nontrivial amount of patients reported happiness, while many patients reported no emotion. Conclusions: The results of this study suggested the usefulness of a registry of the neurological and psychiatric complications after OLT that may help to clarify the pathogenic mechanisms of such complications and implement uniform protocols of prevention and treatment. In fact, better knowledge of the phenomenology of neuropsychiatric symptoms in OLT recipients could allow easier symptom recognition and therapy adjustments on the basis of the emotional impact of such symptoms on patients, family, and caregivers, as well as increase patients' awareness and capability to face this experience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1564-1568
Number of pages5
JournalTransplantation Proceedings
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Transplantation


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