Six of the first 85 patients who received the first 100 liver transplantations carried out in Birmingham developed a syndrome of fulminant liver failure with distinctive clinical and pathological features. The typical clinical presentation was of an uneventual initial postoperative period, followed by a sudden deterioration in graft function, progressing rapidly to graft failure. All six patients died. The characteristic pathological changes were those of massive haemorrhage and hepatocyte necrosis with only mild inflammation and without occlusive lesions in large arteries or veins. These distinctive features differed from other recognised patterns of graft damage and seemed to comprise a specific post-transplant syndrome. The pathogenesis was not clear and in the absence of any definite aetiology it is suggested that the term "massive haemorrhagic necrosis" be used to describe these cases. Additional findings seen in five of the six cases were venoocclusive lesions (n = 4) and a combination of ductopenia and foam cell arteriopathy (n = 2). The presence of these associated lesions suggests that there may be an overlap with other types of graft damage.
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