Introduction: Patients with end-stage liver disease often have cardiac dysfunction, which can be worsened by hemodynamic instability in liver transplantation, causing congestive graft injury. Presentation of case: A 28-year-old male with Wilson's disease underwent liver transplantation. The patient's history included cirrhotic cardiomyopathy and a preoperative ejection fraction of 37% on echocardiography. After liver transplantation, massive transfusion and acute renal failure led to increased central venous pressure. Doppler ultrasonography (US) showed an increase in positive components of the hepatic vein triphasic wave, followed by pulsatile changes in the portal vein waveforms and an eventual to-and-fro pattern. Laboratory data showed severe elevations of hepatocellular transaminase levels. Based on Doppler US findings, we determined liver damage was due to passive congestion caused by heart failure. Immediate initiation of continuous hemodiafiltration (CHDF) and intra-aortic balloon pumping (IABP) led to the patient's recovery from severe heart failure and graft injury. Discussion: In our case, changes in the hepatic and portal vein waveforms and marked elevation of hepatocellular transaminases implied exacerbation of heart failure caused by hepatic congestion and injury. Worsening heart failure, in turn, led to progressive liver damage as the result of hepatic passive congestion. The patient's condition was successfully managed with early initiation of CHDF and IABP. Conclusion: Doppler US can help diagnose congestive graft injury due to heart failure in liver transplant patients and should be performed during post-transplant management of patients with cardiac dysfunction.
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