OBJECTIVE. Our aim was to determine whether variant hepatic artery anatomy in a liver transplant recipient increases the risk of hepatic artery complications after liver transplantation. MATERIALS AND METHODS. The study group consisted of 84 patients who underwent gadolinium-enhanced 3D MR angiography before orthotopic liver transplantation in which a branch patch arterial anastomosis at the gastroduodenal takeoff was used. MR angiography studies were retrospectively reviewed and assessed for the presence and type of variant hepatic artery anatomy. The diameter of the distal common hepatic artery was measured. The incidence of posttransplantation hepatic artery stenosis or thrombosis was assessed. RESULTS. Seven (8.3%) of the 84 patients developed hepatic artery complications after transplantation. Of the 24 patients with variant hepatic artery anatomy, five (20.8%) had post-transplantation hepatic artery complications. In contrast, only two (3.3%) of the 60 patients with classic hepatic artery anatomy had complications. The higher complication rate in patients with variant hepatic artery anatomy was statistically significant (p < 0.05). The odds ratio was 7.6 (95% confidence interval, 1.4-42.6). The diameter of the distal common hepatic artery was smaller in patients with variant hepatic artery anatomy compared with those with classic hepatic artery anatomy (range, 4.3-7.1 mm [mean, 5.8 mm] vs 4.0-8.9 mm [mean 6.3 mm], p < 0.05), and it was also smaller in patients who had posttransplantation hepatic artery complications compared with those who had no complications (range, 4.2-6.3 mm [mean, 5.2 mm] vs 4.0-8.9 mm, [mean, 6.2 mm], p < 0.01). CONCLUSION. Variant hepatic artery anatomy in a liver transplant recipient increased the risk of hepatic artery complications after transplantation. The smaller caliber of the native common hepatic artery may contribute to the higher risk.
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