Neurological complications in liver transplantation
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To define the incidence and type of neurological complications and associated factors, we reviewed 41 consecutive patients who had 45 procedures for liver transplantation. Encephalopathy occurred after 28 procedures (62 %) with immediate onset and no significant recovery before death or re-transplantation in 11 (24 %), slow recovery in eight (18 %) and delayed onset (1–50 days, average 11) in six (13 %). Intermittent confusion and agitation with full recovery followed three (6.6 %), and focal and generalized seizures followed five (11 %) procedures with multifocal myoclonus in two and status epilepticus in one; isolated focal seizures followed two and myoclonus or unclassified seizures, one each. All patients with seizures had encephalopathy. Three patients had neuropathy (2 generalised and 1 focal). Other complications included headache (2), tremors (2), fatigue (2), restlessness, nervousness, transient enuresis, intermittent dizziness, critical illness myopathy and detached retina. Brain imaging showed atrophy in three (6.6 %) instances, intracerebral hæmorrhage in two, multiple infarctions in one, and intracerebral and subarachnoid hæmorrhage with infarction in one. Cerebrospinal fluid analysis showed increased protein in three, hæmorrhage in one, and no abnormality in one patient. Of 12 patients (29 %) who died before discharge, five in the first and three in the second week post-transplantation, 11 (92 %) had encephalopathy post-operatively. Neurological complications after transplantation were associated with increased mortality. Post-operative hypomagnesæmia was associated with the development of nervous system complications. We did not identify any clear pre-operative predictors of development of post-operative neurological complications.
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