OBJECTIVE: To investigate the safety and efficacy of somatostatin as liver inflow modulator in patients with end-stage liver disease (ESLD) and clinically significant portal hypertension (CSPH) undergoing liver transplantation (LT) (ClinicalTrials.gov number,01290172).
BACKGROUND: In LT, portal hyperperfusion can severely impair graft function and survival, mainly in cases of partial LT.
METHODS: Thirty-three patients undergoing LT for ESLD and CSPH were randomized double-blindly to receive somatostatin or placebo (2:1). The study drug was administered intraoperatively as 5-mL bolus (somatostatin: 500 μg), followed by a 2.5 mL/h infusion (somatostatin: 250 μg/h) for 5 days. Hepatic and systemic hemodynamics were measured, along with liver function tests and clinical outcomes. The ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) was analyzed through histological and protein expression analysis.
RESULTS: Twenty-nine patients (18 receiving somatostatin, 11 placebo) were included in the final analysis. Ten patients responded to somatostatin bolus, with a significant decrease in hepatic venous portal gradient (HVPG) and portal flow of -28.3% and -29.1%, respectively. At graft reperfusion, HVPG was lower in patients receiving somatostatin (-81.7% vs -58.8%; P = 0.0084), whereas no difference was observed in the portal flow (P = 0.4185). Somatostatin infusion counteracted the decrease in arterial flow (-10% vs -45%; P = 0.0431). There was no difference between the groups in the severity of IRI, incidence of adverse events, long-term complications, graft, and patient survival.
CONCLUSIONS: Somatostatin infusion during LT in patients with CSPH is safe, reduces the HVPG, and preserves the arterial inflow to the graft. This study establishes the efficacy of somatostatin as a liver inflow modulator.