Hepatic function assessment to predict post-hepatectomy liver failure: what can we trust? A systematic review

Abstract

Post hepatectomy liver failure (PHLF) could occur even though an adequate liver volume is preserved. Liver function is not strictly related to the volume and the necessity to pre-operatively predict the future liver remnant (FLR) function is emerging, together with the wide spreading of techniques, aiming to optimize the FLR. The aim of this study was to systematically review all the available tests, to pre-operatively assess the liver function and to estimate the risk of PHLF. A systematic literature research of Medline, Embase, Scopus was performed in accordance to the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, to identify all the studies available for pre-operative liver function tests to assess the risk of PHLF and/or complications. From the 1122 references retrieved, 79 were included in the review. Dynamic functional tests, such as indocyanine green test (ICG), could evaluate only global liver function, with no definition of functional capacity of the remnant. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with liver-specific contrast agents enables both liver function and volume evaluation; the absence of ionizing radiation showed a better patient’s compliance. Nuclear imaging studies as hepatobiliary scintigraphy (HBS) present the unique ability to allow a precise evaluation of the segmental liver function of the remnant liver. Liver volume could overestimate liver function. Several liver function tests are available to evaluate the risk of PHLF in the pre-operative setting. However, no single test alone could accurately predict PHLF. Pre-operative combination between a dynamic quantitative test, such as ICG, with MRI or HBS, should enable a more complete functional evaluation. Functional tests to predict PHLF should be chosen according to patient’s characteristics, disease, and center experience.

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Tomassini, F., Giglio, M.C., De Simone, G. et al. Hepatic function assessment to predict post-hepatectomy liver failure: what can we trust? A systematic review. Updates Surg 72, 925–938 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13304-020-00859-7

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Keywords

  • Hepatic function
  • Liver resection
  • Liver surgery
  • Hepatectomy
  • Post-hepatectomy liver failure