Low Postoperative Platelet Counts Are Associated with Major Morbidity and Inferior Survival in Adult Recipients of Orthotopic Liver Transplantation

Iakovos Amygdalos, Zoltan Czigany, Jan Bednarsch, Joerg Boecker, Daniel Antonio Morales Santana, Franziska Alexandra Meister, Jelena von der Massen, Wen-Jia Liu, Pavel Strnad, Ulf Peter Neumann, Georg Lurje*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Platelets (PLT) play an essential functional role in cellular injury and liver regeneration following partial hepatectomy and orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT). Here, we investigated the association of postoperative PLT counts with short- and long-term outcomes in adult OLT recipients.

METHODS: Three hundred consecutive patients from our prospective OLT database were analyzed retrospectively (May 2010-November 2017). Ninety-day post-OLT complications were graded using the Clavien-Dindo (CD) classification and quantified by the comprehensive complication index (CCI). To determine the prognostic accuracy of PLT counts, the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC) was calculated for major complications (CD ≥ 3b). Parametric and non-parametric tests were applied for subgroup analyses. Uni- and multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed to identify risk factors for major complications. Graft and patient survival were analyzed using the Kaplan-Meier method as well as uni- and multivariable Cox regression analyses.

RESULTS: Postoperative day 6 PLT counts < 70 × 109/L (POD6-70) were identified as the best cutoff for predicting major complications (AUROC = 0.7; p < 0.001; Youden index 0.317). The stratification of patients into low- (n = 113) and high-PLT (n = 187) groups highlighted significant differences in major complications (CCI 68 ± 29 vs. 43 ± 28, p < 0.001); length of hospital and intensive care unit (ICU) stay (53 ± 43 vs. 31 ± 25, p < 0.001; 21 ± 29 vs. 7 ± 11, p < 0.001, respectively) and estimated procedural costs. POD6-70 was associated with inferior 5-year graft survival. Multivariable logistic regression analysis identified POD6-70 as an independent predictor of major complications (odds ratio 2.298, confidence intervals 1.179-4.478, p = 0.015).

CONCLUSION: In OLT patients, a PLT count on POD6 of less than 70 × 109/L bears a prognostic significance warranting further investigations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1996-2007
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Gastrointestinal Surgery
Issue number9
Early online date6 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020


  • Orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT)
  • Thrombocytopenia
  • Morbidity
  • Mortality
  • Platelet counts

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