Orthotopic liver transplantation in the Insel hospital, Bern, during 1985-1990
Between 1985 and 1990 22 orthotopic liver transplantations (OLT) were realized in 19 patients. Active infection and diffuse splanchnic venous thrombosis were the only contra-indications to the intervention. Sixteen patients were transplanted electively; three had to be retransplanted urgently. Three patients had an urgent primary transplant. The incidence of surgical complications related to liver implantation was fair. One patient (5%) developed a late portal vein thrombosis; another patient (5%) had to be retransplanted because of hepatic artery thrombosis. All patients presented one or more major postoperative complications. All, but one, patients had a rejection of the allograft; five of them needed treatment with mono- or polyclonal antilymphocytic sera to reverse the rejection. One patient was retransplanted because of a hyperacute rejection. The six-month survival in this series is 68.5% (13 of 18 patients); one patient died 7 months post-OLT due to a neurological complication of her Wilson disease. Quality of life (from 6 to 64 months post-OLT) is excellent in the 12 long-term survivors. This small experience of the Bernese transplantation program shows that liver transplantation is a safe surgical procedure allowing excellent quality of life in a majority of patients.