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Arterial hypertension in cirrhosis: arterial compliance, volume distribution, and central haemodynamics
  1. J H Henriksen1,
  2. S Fuglsang1,
  3. F Bendtsen2,
  4. S Møller1
  1. 1Department of Clinical Physiology, Hvidovre Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Hvidovre, Denmark
  2. 2Department of Gastroenterology, Hvidovre Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Hvidovre, Denmark
  1. Correspondence to:
    Professor J H Henriksen
    Department of Clinical Physiology and Nuclear Medicine, 239, Hvidovre Hospital, University of Copenhagen, DK-2650 Hvidovre, Denmark; jens.h.henriksen{at}hh.hosp.dk

Abstract

Background and aim: Arterial hypertension is a common disorder. Hyperkinetic circulation and reduced effective volaemia are central elements in the haemodynamic dysfunction in cirrhosis. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether cirrhotic patients with arterial hypertension are normokinetic and normovolaemic or whether they reveal the same circulatory dysfunction as their normotensive counterparts.

Material and methods: Thirty three patients with arterial hypertension were identified among 648 patients with cirrhosis: 14 in Child class A, 12 in class B, and seven in class C. Controls were 130 normotensive cirrhotic patients, 19 controls with normal arterial blood pressure and without liver disease, and 16 patients with essential arterial hypertension. All groups underwent haemodynamic investigation with determination of cardiac output (CO), plasma volume (PV), central blood volume (CBV), hepatic venous pressure gradient (HVPG), hepatic blood flow (HBF), arterial compliance (AC), and systemic vascular resistance (SVR) in the supine position.

Results: Liver function, as evaluated by galactose elimination capacity, indocyanine green clearance, HBF, and Child score, was significantly better in hypertensive cirrhotics than in their normotensive counterparts (p<0.05–0.01) but portal pressure was similar (HVPG 13 v 15 mm Hg; NS). AC was significantly lower and normal in the arterial hypertensive cirrhotic group (1.07 v 1.39 mm Hg/ml; p<0.02) and SVR was significantly higher and normal (1475 v 1020 dyn×s/cm5; p<0.01). Arterial hypertensive cirrhotic patients were hyperdynamic (CO 6.80 v 7.14 l/min; NS) and central hypovolaemic (CBV 19.8 v 20.6 ml/kg; NS), as were normotensive patients, but differences were found in relation to arterial blood pressure. Whereas arterial pressure was inversely correlated with CO, PV, and Child score in the normotensive group (p< 0.01), the same correlations were either direct or insignificant in arterial hypertensive cirrhotics.

Conclusion: Arterial hypertensive cirrhotic patients are hyperkinetic and central hypovolaemic, in common with their normotensive counterparts, but vasodilatation is reduced and regulation of arterial blood pressure may be less deranged.

  • AC, arterial compliance
  • CBV, central and arterial blood volume
  • CO, cardiac output
  • HBF, hepatic blood flow
  • HVPG, hepatic venous pressure gradient
  • PV, plasma volume
  • SVR, systemic vascular resistance
  • SAP, systolic arterial blood pressure
  • DAP, diastolic arterial blood pressure
  • MAP, mean arterial pressure
  • arterial compliance
  • blood pressure regulation
  • cardiac output
  • essential hypertension
  • liver function
  • systemic vascular resistance

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Footnotes

  • Conflict of interest: None declared.

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