Background After portal vein embolization (PVE), the future liver remnant (FLR) hypertrophies for several weeks. An early marker that predicts a low risk of post-hepatectomy liver failure can reduce the delay to surgery.
Study Design Liver volumes of 153 patients who underwent a major hepatectomy (>3 segments) after PVE for primary or secondary liver malignancy between September 1999 and November 2012 were retrospectively evaluated with computerized volumetry. Pre- and post-PVE FLR volume and functional liver volume were measured. Degree of hypertrophy (DH = post-FLR/post-functional liver volume - pre-FLR/pre-functional liver volume) and growth rate (GR = DH/weeks since PVE) were calculated. Postoperative complications and liver failure were correlated with DH, measured GR, and estimated GR derived from a formula based on body surface area.
Results Eligible patients underwent 93 right hepatectomies, 51 extended right hepatectomies, 4 left hepatectomies, and 5 extended left hepatectomies. Major complications occurred in 44 patients (28.7%) and liver failure in 6 patients (3.9%). Nonparametric regression showed that post-embolization FLR percent correlated poorly with liver failure. Receiver operating characteristic curves showed that DH and GR were good predictors of liver failure (area under the curve [AUC] = 0.80; p = 0.011 and AUC = 0.79; p = 0.015) and modest predictors of major complications (AUC = 0.66; p = 0.002 and AUC = 0.61; p = 0.032). No patient with GR >2.66% per week had liver failure develop. The predictive value of measured GR was superior to estimated GR for liver failure (AUC = 0.79 vs 0.58; p = 0.046).
Conclusions Both DH and GR after PVE are strong predictors of post-hepatectomy liver failure. Growth rate might be a better guide for the optimum timing of liver resection than static volumetric measurements. Measured volumetrics correlated with outcomes better than estimated volumetrics.
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