Intraoperative changes in portal venous and hepatic arterial flow were compared in porcine recipients of reduced liver grafts with recipients of intact grafts and sham-operated controls. Control animals showed no significant changes in hepatic blood flow (measured with perivascular ultrasonic cuffs), heart rate, mean arterial pressure, cardiac output, acid/base balance, plasma sodium, potassium, glucose, or catecholamines. Recipients of intact or reduced grafts showed hypotension, reduced cardiac output, tachycardia, and increased systemic vascular resistance during the anhepatic phase, which lasted approximately 30 min. These changes returned to normal in recipients of intact grafts but in recipients of reduced grafts, levels returned only to 50-60% of baseline. After intact grafting, total liver blood flow and the portal and arterial components returned to baseline within 2 hr of revascularization, but after reduced grafting, hepatic arterial flow values remained depressed to 50-60% of baseline. Plasma epinephrine and norepinephrine were unaltered during control operation but increased 4- to 20-fold in recipients of all grafts. These returned towards baseline in all except recipients of reduced grafts, in which norepinephrine levels remained significantly elevated for the 4 hr of postoperative study. These data highlight persistent elevation of plasma norepinephrine after reduced liver grafting, which may have contributed to the diminished hepatic arterial flow. These results need to be confirmed in adult recipients of split liver grafts in whom grafts are comparatively small. In such patients receiving donor livers which have undergone prolonged storage, the effects of increased plasma norepinephrine levels upon donor agonal arterial spasm may be significant.
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