During the first 24 months of the Oregon Liver Transplantation Program, which began in October 1988, 94 patients were formally evaluated and 47 adults underwent 54 liver transplantations. Thirty-four percent of patients were veterans. The recipient operation lasted a mean of 7.4 hours (range: 4 to 16 hours). Veno-venous bypass was used routinely at first but selectively later (7 of the last 26 cases), resulting in reduced operating time. Hepatic artery reconstruction was end-to-end anastomosis in 52 cases and iliac conduit in 2. No arterial thrombosis occurred. Biliary reconstruction was choledo-chocholedochostomy in 83% and choledochojejunostomy in 17%. Biliary complications occurred in 28%. Operative mortality was 2%, and 1-year actual survival was 80%. Patients with hepatitis B fared worse, with four of six dying at a mean of 7.6 months. Overall, the median hospital stay was 30 days. Patients surviving more than 3 months had a mean Karnofsky score of 82%. No significant difference in outcome was noted in patients receiving prophylactic OKT3 monoclonal antibody (used in 45%) versus conventional immunosuppressive therapy. Overall, allograft rejection occurred in 55% of patients. Retransplantation was required in seven patients, three for primary graft nonfunction, two for uncontrolled rejection during induction therapy with OKT3, and two for graft failure secondary to recurrent hepatitis B.
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