Background: Postoperative liver failure after hepatectomy has been identified by the association of prothrombin time <50% and serum bilirubin >50 μmol/L (the “50–50” criteria). Whether these criteria are of prognostic value in a prospective study remains unknown.
Objective: To determine prospectively the prognostic value of the 50–50 criteria on day 3 and day 5 in intensive care unit (ICU) patients after hepatectomy.
Methods: From January 2005 to February 2007, among 436 elective liver resections, 99 (23%) consecutive patients aged 58 ± 17 years were admitted postoperatively in ICU with a mean SAPSII 25 ± 10. Malignant disease was present in 87 and major resections (≤3 segments) were performed in 79 (80%) cases. The underlying liver parenchyma was abnormal in 59 (59%) cases including cirrhosis, fibrosis, or steatosis >30% in 19, 23, and 17 patients, respectively.
Results: The 50–50 criteria were present on day 3 in 10 patients and on day 5 in 13. Ten patients (10, 6%) died in ICU. Survivors with these criteria were characterized by early aggressive support including reoperation and/or liver assist system. Nonsurvivors were more often cirrhotic, had significantly higher SAPS II and more frequently postoperative prolonged mechanical ventilation. The 50–50 criteria on days 3 and 5 were predictors of death on multivariate analysis [OR (95% CI): 12.7 (2.3–71.4), OR (95% CI): 29.4 (4.9–167), respectively].
Conclusions: After hepatic resection, results of this prospective study validate the 50–50 criteria as a predictive factor of mortality in ICU on both days 3 and 5. These criteria allow an early diagnosis of postoperative liver failure, which may contribute to reduce mortality in ICU patients after hepatectomy.