Cardiovascular dysfunction in patients with liver cirrhosis

Authors Giuseppe Fede, Graziella Privitera, Tania Tomaselli, Luisa Spadaro, Francesco Purrello.


Hyperdynamic syndrome is a well-known clinical condition found in patients with cirrhosis and portal hypertension, characterized by increased heart rate and cardiac output, and reduced systemic vascular resistance and arterial blood pressure. The leading cause of hyperdynamic circulation in cirrhotic patients is peripheral and splanchnic vasodilatation, due to an increased production/activity of vasodilator factors and decreased vascular reactivity to vasoconstrictors. The term "cirrhotic cardiomyopathy" describes impaired contractile responsiveness to stress, diastolic dysfunction and electrophysiological abnormalities in patients with cirrhosis without known cardiac disease. Underlying circulatory and cardiac dysfunctions are the main determinant in the development of hepatorenal syndrome in advanced cirrhosis. Moreover, the clinical consequences of cirrhosis-related cardiovascular dysfunction are evident during and after liver transplantation, and after transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt insertion. Cardiovascular complications following these procedures are common, with pulmonary edema being the most common complication. Other complications include overt heart failure, arrhythmia, pulmonary hypertension, pericardial effusion, and cardiac thrombus formation. This review discusses the circulatory and cardiovascular dysfunctions in cirrhosis, examining the pathophysiologic and clinical implications in light of the most recent published literature.

Keywords Hyperdynamic syndrome, cirrhotic cardiomyopathy, cardiovascular dysfunction, cirrhosis

Ann Gastroenterol 2015; 28 (1): 31-40

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