Viscoelastic Management of Coagulopathy during the Perioperative Period of Liver Transplantation.
Viscoelastic testing (VET) in liver transplantation (LT) has been used since its origin, in combination with standard laboratory testing (SLT). There are only a few, small, randomized controlled trials that demonstrated a reduction in transfusion rates using VET to guide coagulation management. Retrospective analyses contrasting VET to SLT have demonstrated mixed results, with a recent concern for overtreatment and the increase in postoperative thrombotic events. An oversight of many studies evaluating VET in LT is a single protocol that does not address the different phases of surgery, in addition to pre- and postoperative management. Furthermore, the coagulation spectrum of patients entering and exiting the operating room is diverse, as these patients can have varying anatomic and physiologic risk factors for thrombosis. A single transfusion strategy for all is short sighted. VET in combination with SLT creates the opportunity for personalized resuscitation in surgery which can address the many challenges in LT where patients are at a paradoxical risk for both life-threatening bleeding and clotting. With emerging data on the role of rebalanced coagulation in cirrhosis and hypercoagulability following LT, there are numerous potential roles in VET management of LT that have been unaddressed.