• The ability of a heterotopic graft to prolong life in animals dying in hepatic coma due to liver necrosis has never been definitely established. Acute hepatic failure was produced in 15 dogs by an hour of total interruption of the hepatic blood supply. Nine dogs received an intrathoracic hepatic homograft concurrently. Nontransplanted dogs died within 21 hours in hepatic coma, while transplanted dogs survived significantly longer (P <.001). In all transplanted dogs, biological signs of hepatic failure were corrected in 24 hours. In four animals, the graft was removed on the fifth postoperative day. Two of those survived for 10 and 15 days respectively with normal hepatic function. These results demonstrate that a temporary heterotopic liver transplant is able to support life during the acute, normally lethal phase in dogs with massive liver necrosis.
(Arch Surg 112:74-78, 1977)