Objectives: Recent studies suggest that cardiac dysfunction precedes development of the hepatorenal syndrome. In this follow-up study, we aimed to investigate the relation between cardiac- and renal function in patients with cirrhosis and ascites and the impact of cardiac systolic function on survival.
Patients and design: Twenty-four patients with cirrhosis and ascites were included. Cardiac function was investigated by gated myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI) for assessment of cardiac index (CI) and cardiac volumes. The renal function was assessed by determination of glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and renal blood flow (RBF) and the patients were followed-up for 12 months.
Results: In patients with a CI below 1.5 L/min/m2 on MPI, GFR was lower (39±24 vs. 63±23 mL/min, p=0.03), RBF was lower (352±232 vs. 561±229 mL/min, p=0.06), and serum creatinine was higher (130±46 vs. 78±29 µmol/L, p<0.01). The number of patients who developed hepatorenal syndrome type 1 within 3 months was higher in the group with low CI than in the high CI group (43% vs. 5%, p=0.04). Patients with the lowest CI (N=8) had significantly poorer survival at 3, 9, and 12 months compared to those with a higher CI (N=16), p<0.05. In contrast, the MELD score failed to predict mortality in these patients.
Conclusions: The development of renal failure and poor outcome in patients with advanced cirrhosis and ascites seem to be related to a cardiac systolic dysfunction. Other parameters may be more important than MELD score to predict prognosis.