Reports of early success with cryopreserved saphenous veins (CSV) as arterial conduits led us to develop cryopreserved iliac veins (CIV) as interposition grafts for portal vein reconstruction in living-related liver transplantation (LRLT) (4). Despite encouraging short-term results, retrospective analysis of long-term cryopreserved vein graft performance in LRLT at our institution has revealed a high rate of late graft failure. Between July 1992 and July 1994, interposition grafts (CIV for portal vein interposition n=4, CSV for portal vein interposition n=3, and CSV for hepatic artery interposition n=2) were utilized in 7 LRLT. (Two transplanted organs had both CIV and CSV grafts.) Recipients included 5 children and two small adults (median: 3.5 years, range: 0.5-59 years). Posttransplant follow-up in excess of 36 months revealed portal vein (PV) and hepatic artery (HA) complications of cryopreserved grafts in each patient. PV complications included aneurysm (n=4) diagnosed at 28, 24, 18, and 1.5 mo, stricture (n=1) diagnosed at 11 mo, and thrombosis (n=1) diagnosed at 18 mo posttransplant. All portal vein complications have been managed without retransplantation, but one (PV thrombosis) necessitated surgical shunt therapy. Each CSV hepatic artery interposition graft has been complicated by thrombosis (diagnosed at 11 days and 24 mo posttransplant) necessitating retransplantation. Based upon these observations, we have adopted alternative strategies for HA and PV reconstruction. At present, 11 LRLT have been performed without cryopreserved vein conduits over 17 mo with no vascular complications. While this study does not permit statistical analysis, these results discourage the use of cryopreserved iliac veins for portal interposition and cryopreserved saphenous veins for arterial interposition in liver transplantation.
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