Liver transplantation is a high-risk surgery performed on a high-risk patient and is the only treatment for end-stage liver disease. Ever since the first successful liver transplant performed, patient survival increased due to improvement of surgical technique and anaesthetic management as well as the emergence of new generations of immunosuppressants. The pre-anaesthetic evaluation is mandatory and plays an important role in patient inclusion on the transplant list. Liver transplantation is performed under general anaesthesia, and the anaesthetic monitoring is very important for a successful liver transplantation as it can expose problems before irreversible damage occurs. Haemodynamic instability is common during surgery, requiring complex invasive haemodynamic monitoring. Continuous assessment of the patient’s volemic status and the amount of perfused fluids represent the key to a successful liver transplantation. Inadequate fluid therapy can lead to pulmonary oedema, abnormal gas exchange, congestion, decrease in perfusion and oedema of the graft. Liver reperfusion takes place in the neohepatic phase and is the most unstable period during liver transplantation, representing a real challenge for the anaesthetist. It can have severe consequences due to a decrease in cardiovascular function with haemodynamic instability, abnormal acid base balance and metabolic abnormalities.
Part of the book: Organ Donation and Transplantation