Pediatr Transplant. 2022 May 22;e14326.
doi: 10.1111/petr.14326. Online ahead of print.

Early post-liver transplant thrombocytopenia in children: Clinical characteristics and significance

Noa Tal 1 2, Orith Waisbourd-Zinman 2 3, Eytan Kaplan 2 4, Gili Kadmon 2 4, Yulia Gendler 5, Michael Gurevich 2 6, Elhanan Nahum 2 4, Avichai Weissbach 2 4


Background: Post-liver transplant thrombocytopenia is common and associated with worse outcome in adults. In children, however, the prevalence, course, and significance of post-liver transplantation thrombocytopenia are not described. Therefore, we aimed to assess this phenomenon in children.

Methods: A retrospective chart review of children who underwent liver transplantation at a single tertiary center between 2004 and 2021.

Results: Overall, 130 pediatric liver transplantations were reviewed. During the first 28 POD, thrombocytopenia was evident in 116 (89%, 95% CI 83%-94%). The median nadir platelet count was 54 K/μl (IQR: 37-99). Nadir platelet count was reached in half the patients by the third POD (IQR: 1-6). In multivariate analysis, preoperative platelet count (p = .024), volume of intraoperative packed cell transfusion (p = .045), and hypersplenism (p = .007) were associated with lower postoperative platelet counts. Patients with platelet count lower than the 50th centile on the first POD suffered from a more complicated course leading to a longer PICU admission (p = .039).

Conclusions: Early post-liver transplant thrombocytopenia appears to be common in children and associated with preoperative thrombocytopenia, hypersplenism, and higher intraoperative blood transfusion volumes. A low first POD platelet count (<86 K/μl) was found to be independently associated with a more complicated postoperative course, suggesting the need for heightened surveillance.

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