Outcomes of Anesthesiologist-Led Care of Patients Following Liver Transplantation During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Christopher E. Ferrer, Debbie C. Mokuolu, Hung Mo Lin, Yuxia Ouyang, Thomas Schiano, Ryan Wang, Daniel Afonin, Sander S. Florman, Anthony Tanella, Daniel Katz, Samuel DeMaria, Natalie K. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: During the COVID-19 pandemic, anesthesiologists were redeployed as transplant ICU intensivists and a postanesthesia care unit was converted to a novel transplant ICU. This study compared the outcomes of patients undergoing liver transplantation under the new model with the prepandemic model. Methods: Adult patients who underwent liver transplantation at an urban tertiary care center in the United States from December 28, 2015, through May 1, 2020, were identified and grouped according to date of procedure. Peri-COVID cases included transplants that were performed after March 3, 2020. Transplants performed before March 3, 2020, served as pre-COVID controls. Results: A total of 523 liver transplant patients (30 study cases, 493 controls) were included. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed no significant difference in novel transplant ICU length of stay (N-TLOS) (median LOS 3.8 vs. 4.5 days, log-rank p = 0.60) and hospital length of stay (HLOS) (median LOS 14.2 vs. 14.5 days, log-rank p = 0.66). Cox proportional hazards regression with inverse probability of treatment weighting showed no difference in N-TLOS (hazard ratio [HR] 0.91, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.67–1.23, p = 0.55) or HLOS (HR 0.90, 95% CI 0.65–1.25, p = 0.52). In addition, there were no significant differences (pre-COVID vs. COVID) in time to extubation (median [interquartile range] 28.7 [20.6–50.7] vs. 26.8 [17.4–40.8] hours, p = 0.35), one-year patient survival (12.0% vs. 6.7%, p = 0.055), one-year graft survival (13.4% vs. 6.7%, p = 0.43), and readmission to the ICU (15.0% vs. 20.0%, p = 0.68). Conclusion: Care provided by non-intensivist anesthesiologists to patients undergoing orthotopic liver transplantation during a pandemic emergency resulted in outcomes similar to those of care provided by intensivists.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)458-467
Number of pages10
JournalJoint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2022


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