Ultrasound of Living Donor Liver Transplantation
Leong, L., (2006) Ultrasound of Living Donor Liver Transplantation. Biomedical Imaging and Intervention Journal, 2 (2).
Official URL: http://www.biij.org/2006/2/e17/e17.pdf
Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong. Dept. of Radiology
Liver transplantation is the most effective treatment for various end-stage liver diseases. Living donor liver transplantation (LDLT) was first developed in Asia due to the severe lack of cadaveric graft in this region. The Liver Transplant Service at Queen Mary Hospital (QMH), Hong Kong, has pioneered the application of LDLT to patients using both left lobe and right lobe grafts. The QMH liver transplant programme is the largest of its kind in China and Southeast Asia. Ultrasound (US) is often employed in the initial work-up of potential donor and recipient of LDLT. It is the imaging technique of choice to assess the early and late complications of LDLT, with colour Doppler ultrasound being the most useful in the evaluation of post-LDLT vascular complications. The use of ultrasound contrast agents improves the visualisation of the hepatic vasculature, possibly delaying or removing the need for more invasive investigations. Intraoperative ultrasound facilitates the determination of the resection plane during donor hepactectomy. Computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can be used as the single imaging modality in the evaluation of LDLT candidates. Ultrasound is most useful as the initial screening test in detecting hepatic parenchymal abnormalities, while CT or MRI is the modality of choice in the demonstration of vascular and biliary anatomy of the potential liver donor. Biliary complications are more common in LDLT than in cadaveric liver transplantation. The ductal dilatation, resulting from biliary stricture, is clearly demonstrated by ultrasound. Bilomas can be aspirated under ultrasound guidance to confirm the diagnosis and to promote healing. Perihepatic fluid collections and abscesses are also common after LDLT. Intra-hepatic collections may represent seromas, haematomas or infarction. Ultrasound is a sensitive means of detecting these collections and can be employed to guide drainage in suitable patients. Transplant-related malignancies include recurrent neoplasia and post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease (PTLD). Ultrasound can be used to screen for recurrent disease and to detect PTLD in the transplanted liver.
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