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February 1995

Hospital Mortality of Major Hepatectomy for Hepatocellular Carcinoma Associated With Cirrhosis

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Surgery (Drs Fan, Lai, Lo, and Wong) and Pathology (Dr Ng), The University of Hong Kong, Queen Mary Hospital.

Arch Surg. 1995;130(2):198-203. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1995.01430020088017

Objective:  To define the safety of major hepatectomy for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) associated with cirrhosis and the selection criteria for surgery in terms of hospital mortality.

Design:  Major hepatectomy for HCC in the presence of cirrhosis is considered to be contraindicated by many surgeons because the reported mortality rate is high (26% to 50%). Previous workers recommended that only selected patients with Child's A status or indocyanine green (ICG) retention at 15 minutes of less than 10% undergo major hepatectomy. A survey was made, therefore, of our patients with HCC and cirrhosis undergoing major hepatectomy between 1989 and 1994.

Setting:  A tertiary referral center.

Patients:  The preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative data of 54 patients with cirrhosis who had major hepatectomy were compared with those of 25 patients with underlying chronic active hepatitis and 22 patients with normal livers undergoing major hepatectomy for HCC. The data had been prospectively collected.

Intervention:  Major hepatectomy, defined as resection of two or more liver segments by Goldsmith and Woodburn nomenclature, was performed on all the patients.

Main Outcome Measure:  Hospital mortality, which was defined as death within the same hospital admission for the hepatectomy.

Results:  Preoperative liver function in patients with cirrhosis was worse than in those with normal livers. The intraoperative blood loss was also higher (P=.01), but for patients with cirrhosis, chronic active hepatitis, and normal livers, the hospital mortality rates (13%, 16%, and 14%, respectively) were similar. The hospital mortality rate for patients with cirrhosis in the last 2 years of the study was only 5%. Patients with cirrhosis could tolerate up to 10 L of blood loss and survive the major hepatectomy. By discriminant analysis, an ICG retention of 14% at 15 minutes was the cutoff level that could maximally separate the patients with cirrhosis with and without mortality.

Conclusion:  Major hepatectomy for HCC in the presence of cirrhosis is associated with a mortality rate that is not different from the rate for patients with normal livers. An ICG retention of 14% at 15 minutes would serve as a better selection criterion than the 10% previously used.(Arch Surg. 1995;130:198-203)