Thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA) may develop after living donor liver transplantation (LDLT), but the mechanism is not fully understood. We retrospectively analyzed all patients undergoing LDLT at our center, including TMA patients, to elucidate the clinical characteristics and presentation and to determine which patients have a higher risk of occurrence of TMA. In all, 57 adult patients were reviewed after LDLT at our institution. TMA was diagnosed by sudden and severe thrombocytopenia, followed by hemolytic anemia with fractionated erythrocytes in the blood smear. Clinical features were compared between the TMA group and the non-TMA group. Of the 57 patients, 4 were diagnosed with posttransplantation TMA. ABO blood group (ABO)-incompatibility, cyclophosphamide (CPA), and recipient blood group (type O) were closely correlated with the occurrence of TMA. Thrombocytopenia appeared 1 to 5 days before hemolytic anemia. Coagulative function markers stayed at the same level after TMA, while marked elevation was shown in fibrinolytic function markers such as plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 (PAI-1). TMA occurred at a higher prevalence in ABO-incompatible graft recipients. Additional factors associated with ABO-incompatible transplantation, such as an overdose of immunosuppressants, may affect the likelihood of TMA. Sudden and severe thrombocytopenia presented before hemolytic anemia and the serum levels of PAI-1 correlated well with the clinical course of TMA. In conclusion early recognition of thrombocytopenia and elevation of PAI-1 is crucial to diagnose TMA especially in ABO-incompatible LDLT.
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