Cardiac dysfunction as an early predictor of portal hypertension in chronic hepatitis C
Background Cirrhotic cardiomyopathy is characterized by a set of cardiovascular modifications observed in advanced chronic liver disease. The aim of this study was to investigate cardiovascular alterations in chronic liver disease with different stages of fibrosis and to correlate cardiac involvement with endoscopic complications of portal hypertension.
Methods Seventy patients with chronic hepatitis C-related chronic liver disease and 20 sex- and age-matched controls underwent clinical evaluation, hepatic transient elastography, and echocardiography. Forty-nine of the 70 patients underwent an esophagogastroduodenoscopy for screening of esophageal and gastric varices.
Results According to the value of liver stiffness (LS), patients were divided in 2 groups: non-cirrhotics (LS<12.5 kPa; n=30; median LS=8.1 kPa, 95% confidence interval [CI] 6.4-9.2 kPa) and cirrhotics (LS>12.5 kPa; n=40; median LS=19.4 kPa, 95%CI 17-22 kPa). Compared to non-cirrhotics, cirrhotics showed a significant dilatation of the left atrium (P=0.007 and P=0.003 for area and volume index, respectively). In patients with chronic liver disease, peak systolic wave velocity (Sâ€²) measured by tissue Doppler imaging (TDI) was lower (P=0.004), but ejection fraction was not reduced. Left atrial volume, left ventricular mass index and TDI Sâ€²-wave velocity, but not liver stiffness, correlated with endoscopic signs of portal hypertension.
Conclusions Left atrial enlargement and peak Sâ€²-wave systolic velocities are echocardiographic markers of diastolic and systolic dysfunction in liver cirrhosis. Cardiac alterations closely correlate to endoscopic portal hypertension; further studies could elucidate the potential role of echocardiography in the early identification of cirrhotic patients at higher risk for endoscopic complications of portal hypertension.
Keywords Cirrhotic cardiomyopathy, portal hypertension, echocardiography, hepatitis C
Ann Gastroenterol 2017; 30 (6): 675-681