Intraoperative transesophageal echocardiogram evaluation for liver transplantation

Article information

Korean J Anesthesiol. 2019;72(4):385-386
Publication date (electronic) : 2019 January 23
doi :
Department of Anesthesiology, Western University - London Health Sciences Centre, London, ON, Canada
Corresponding author: Marta Ines Berrio Valencia, M.D., MSc Department of Anesthesiology, Western University - London Health Sciences Centre, 339 Windermere Road, London, ON N6A 5A5, Canada Tel: +1-519-2822816 Email:
Received 2018 November 27; Revised 2019 January 15; Accepted 2019 January 16.

Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) is a powerful tool for diagnosis and management in both cardiac and noncardiac surgeries. TEE is especially relevant during liver transplantation as patients often have underlying cardiac or pulmonary diseases, large volume shifts are anticipated, and patients are prone to thrombotic complications. The American Society of Echocardiography Guidelines assigned a grade B2 to TEE as a hemodynamic monitoring tool in this context [1].

We present a TEE protocol developed at London Health Science Centre for use during liver transplantation (Table 1) based on recent literature [25]. This protocol includes a comprehensive baseline examination during the dissection phase, followed by a more focused assessment during the anhepatic and neohepatic phases. We emphasize the importance of labeling the TEE loops during the different phases for quality of reporting, as well as for education and research purposes. During the anhepatic phase, we limit TEE probe manipulation and focus predominantly on midesophageal views. During the neohepatic phase, we aim for windows through the inferior vena cava and perform hepatic vein evaluation if the quality of the images permits. Although these views are not yet standardized in liver transplantation, there is increasing interest in the literature in this regard, and we try to include them as part of our global evaluation.

Protocol for Transesophageal Echocardiogram in Liver Transplantation

We hope to see more literature regarding TEE during liver transplantation and the development of focused guidelines for use of TEE as a perioperative tool for the transplant anesthesiologist.


Conflicts of Interest

No potential conflict of interest relevant to this article was reported.

Author Contributions

Marta Ines Berrio Valencia (Writing – original draft; Writing – review & editing)

Abigayel Joschko (Writing – original draft; Writing – review & editing)


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Article information Continued

Table 1.

Protocol for Transesophageal Echocardiogram in Liver Transplantation

Dissection phase
 Chamber sizes
 Biventricular function
 Valvular function. If tricuspid regurgitation is present, assess pulmonary artery systolic pressure
 Rule out patent foramen ovale, assess risk of paradoxical embolization, distinguish intracardiac vs. transpulmonary shunts
 Verify Swan-Ganz position and/or facilitate placement
 Verify guidewire and cannula position in venovenous bypass
 Rule out bilateral pleural effusions and pericardial effusion Anhepatic phase
 Biventricular function
 Rule out left ventricular outflow tract obstruction
Neohepatic phase
 Right ventricular function
 Rule out systolic anterior motion of the mitral valve. Measure gradient across the left ventricular outflow tract as required
 Rule out intracardiac or pulmonary thromboemboli or air
 Assess the inferior vena cava patency: color Doppler if possible
 Assess the hepatic veins: color Doppler and pulsed wave Doppler, if possible