The purpose of this study was to assess the value of lignocaine biotransformation into monoethylglycinexylidide (MEGX) and conventional liver function tests in the early post-operative period as an indicator of graft function and as a diagnostic tool for complications after hepatic transplantation. Monoethylglycinexylidide formation, plasma bilirubin, aspartate aminotransferase (ASAT), alanine amino- transferase (ALAT), factor V index (FVI) and prothrombin time index (PTI) were measured in 71 patients undergoing 80 liver transplantations respectively at 12 (T1), 24 (T2), 48 (T3) and 72 h (T4) after liver graft revascularization. Patients were divided into two group according to the post-operative outcome. Patients with favourable outcome (n = 59) had significantly higher monoethylglycinexylidide synthesis, higher factor V index and prothrombin time index plasma concentrations, lower bilirubin, ASAT and ALAT plasma concentration (P < 0.0001 at T2 and T3) than those with complicated time course (n = 21). Monoethylglycinexylidide synthesis was the best discriminant of a favourable outcome, whereas bilirubin and ALAT concentrations were associated with complications (bilirubin for primary non function [PNF], ALAT for acute rejection). Thus, the combination of parameters at T2 was a very efficient predictor of primary non function, acute rejection and an uncomplicated time course.