Surgeons, in general, underestimate the replaced left hepatic artery (rLHA) that arises from the left gastric artery (LGA), compared with the replaced right hepatic artery (rRHA), especially in standard gastric cancer surgery. During pancreaticoduodenectomy (PD), preservation of the rRHA arising from the superior mesenteric artery (SMA) is widely accepted to prevent critical postoperative complications, such as liver necrosis, bile duct ischemia, and biliary anastomotic leakage. In contrast, details of complication onset following rLHA resection remain unknown. We report two cases of postoperative liver necrosis shortly after rLHA resection during PD for advanced gastric cancer.
Both cases had advanced gastric cancer with infiltration of the pancreatic head. In case 1, the rLHA comprised segment 2/3 artery (A2 + A3), which arose from the LGA. The rRHA originated from the SMA, and the segment 4 artery (A4) was a branch of the rRHA. We conducted PD with combined en bloc resection of both the rLHA and rRHA, and anastomosis between the distal and proximal stumps of the rRHA and LGA, respectively. The divided A2 + A3 was not reconstructed. In case 2, the rLHA comprised segment 2 artery (A2) only, which arose from the LGA. The segment 3/4 artery and the RHAs originated from the proper hepatic artery. We undertook PD with combined en bloc resection of A2 without vascular reconstruction. In both patients, serious necrosis of the lateral segment of the liver occurred within 6 days after PD. Case 1 recovered with conservative management, whereas case 2 required lateral segmentectomy of the liver. Pathologically, the necrotic area in case 2 was apparently circumscribed and confined to segment 2 of the liver, potentially implicating rLHA resection during PD as causing hepatic necrosis.
During PD, rLHA resection can cause serious liver necrosis. Therefore, this artery should be preserved as far as oncologically acceptable. In cases that require rLHA resection during PD due to tumor conditions, surgeons should carefully monitor postoperative course while keeping in mind the possible necessity of urgent hepatectomy.
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- Liver necrosis shortly after pancreaticoduodenectomy with resection of the replaced left hepatic artery
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