Hypothesis: Several techniques have been introduced to minimize intraoperative bleeding in hepatic surgery. Ischemia-reperfusion injuries and intestinal congestion are the main drawbacks of vascular clamping. We hypothesized possible negative effects on early postoperative outcomes associated with different types of vascular clamping during liver resections and evaluated how attitudes have changed in the past 20 years. Design: Retrospective review. Setting: Academic research institute. Patients: Patients who underwent 1260 consecutive liver resections, 338 of them (26.8%) in patients with cirrhosis. Main Outcome Measures: Postoperative complications and mortality were analyzed relative to liver disease, blood transfusion, vascular clamping, and type of liver resection. Results: Vascular clamping was applied in 594 patients (47.1%). Operative mortality was 4.4% in the vascular clamping group and 2.9% in the nonclamped group, a statistically nonsignificant difference. On multivariate analysis, blood transfusion, major hepatectomies, and the presence of cirrhosis were statistically significantly associated with postoperative complications. Among the overall cohort and among patients with cirrhosis, there was statistically significantly reduced use of vascular clamping and of blood transfusion during the past 20 years. The lowest incidences of severe complications occurred among cases of continuous or hemihepatic clamping. Among 338 patients with cirrhosis, 155 (45.9%) received some type of vascular control; morbidity and mortality rates were similar in the groups with vs those without vascular control. On multivariate analysis, only blood transfusion was statistically significantly associated with postoperative morbidity. Postoperative complications were statistically significantly reduced among patients receiving intermittent compared with continuous clamping. Conclusions: Vascular clamping can be applied without additional risk during partial hepatectomy. Intermittent or hemihepatic clamping is preferable in patients with cirrhosis.
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