The assumption of upright posture by patients with liver cirrhosis leads to striking activation of adrenergic and renin-angiotensin systems. The tilting-induced modifications in renal function of eight healthy controls and 14 untreated patients with liver cirrhosis and ascites were related to plasma concentrations of noradrenaline, renin activity and aldosterone. All patients had preserved renal blood perfusion. All parameters were evaluated during bed rest for two hours and in the sitting posture for one hour. Basal plasma renin activity (0.1 greater than p greater than 0.05), aldosterone and noradrenaline concentrations (p less than or equal to 0.01) were raised in cirrhotics. The renal function tests (creatinine clearance, filtered sodium, tubular rejection fraction, urinary sodium excretion) were significantly reduced in cirrhosis. Under basal conditions, in cirrhotic patients tubular rejection fraction and urinary sodium excretion were inversely related to both noradrenaline and aldosterone concentrations. After tilting, the noradrenaline and aldosterone integrated outputs (sigma delta) were significantly greater in cirrhosis. All renal function tests significantly decreased in cirrhotics, whereas creatinine clearance only significantly decreased in controls. Patient's tubular rejection fraction of sodium and sodium excretion were related to sigma delta aldosteronaemia (r = -0.72; p less than 0.01), but no longer to sigma delta plasma noradrenaline.
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