1 King's College Hospital, London, UK.
2 Department of Minimal Access Surgery, King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Denmark Hill, London, SE5 9RS, UK. email@example.com.
INTRODUCTION: Ten percent of cirrhotic patients are known to have a high risk of postoperative complications. Ninety percent of bariatric patients suffer from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and 50% of them may develop non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) which can progress to cirrhosis. The aim of this study was to assess whether the presence of cirrhosis at the time of bariatric surgery is associated with an increased rate and severity of short- and long-term cirrhotic complications.
METHODS: A cohort of 110 bariatric patients, between May 2003 and February 2018, who had undergone liver biopsy at the time of bariatric surgery were reassessed for histological outcome and divided into two groups based on the presence (C, n = 26) or absence (NC, n = 84) of cirrhosis. The NC group consisted of NASH (n = 49), NAFLD (n = 24) and non-NAFLD (n = 11) liver histology. Medical notes were retrospectively assessed for patient characteristics, development of 30-day postoperative complications, severity of complications (Clavien-Dindo (CD) classification) and length of stay. The C group was further assessed for long-term cirrhosis-related outcomes.
RESULTS: The C group was older (52 years vs 43 years) and had lower BMI (46 kg/m2 vs 52 kg/m2) and weight (126 kg vs 145 kg) compared to the NC group (p < 0.05). The C group had significantly higher overall complication rate (10/26 vs 14/84, p < 0.05) and severity of complications (CD class ≥ III, 12% vs 7%, p < 0.05) when compared to the NC group. The length of stay was similar between the two groups (5 days vs 4 days). The C group had significant improvement in model end-stage liver disease scores (7 vs 6, p < 0.01) with median follow-up of 4.5 years (range 2-11 years). There were no long-term cirrhosis-related complications or mortality in our studied cohort (0/26).
CONCLUSION: Bariatric surgery in cirrhotic patients has a higher risk of immediate postoperative complications. Long-term cirrhosis-related complications or mortality was not increased in this small cohort. Preoperative identification of liver cirrhosis may be useful for risk stratification, optimisation and informed consent. Bariatric surgery in well-compensated cirrhotic patients may be used as an aid to improve long-term outcome.