Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Low cardiac output predicts development of hepatorenal syndrome and survival in patients with cirrhosis and ascites
  1. A Krag1,2,
  2. F Bendtsen1,
  3. J H Henriksen2,
  4. S Møller2
  1. 1
    Department of Gastroenterology, Hvidovre Hospital, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  2. 2
    Department of Clinical Physiology, Hvidovre Hospital, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  1. Correspondence to Dr A Krag, Department of Medical Gastroenterology 439, Hvidovre Hospital, DK-2650 Hvidovre, Denmark; aleksander.krag{at}


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 (SD 24) vs 63 (SD 23) ml/min, p = 0.03), RBF was lower (352 (SD 232) vs 561 (SD 229) ml/min, p = 0.06), and serum creatinine was higher (130 (SD 46) vs 78 (SD 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 Model for End-stage Liver Disease (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.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Funding This study was supported by grants from the Lundbeck Foundation and Hvidovre Hospital Foundation for Liver Disease. AK received a grant from the University of Copenhagen.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval The Regional Medical Ethics Committee approved the study (KF 02–059/04), which was carried out in accordance with the Helsinki Declaration II after informed consent. No complications were encountered during the study.

  • Provenance and Peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

Linked Articles

  • Digest
    BMJ Publishing Group Ltd and British Society of Gastroenterology