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Hepatopulmonary syndrome - Past to present

Joye Varghese, Haseeb Ilias-basha, Ravishanker Dhanasekaran, Shivakumar Singh, Jayanthi Venkataraman


Hepatopulmonary syndrome (HPS) is the one of the complication of liver cirrhosis with portal hypertension, irrespective of etiology, age and sex. It has also been observed in non cirrhotic portal hypertension and in acute hepatic conditions. Presence of hypoxemia or abnormal alveolar arterial oxygen tension with intrapulmonary vasodilation in liver cirrhosis is termed as HPS. Contrast echocardiogram is the better screening tool to demonstrate intrapulmonary shunt. Clinicians should be aware of other common chronic pulmonary and cardiac comorbid conditions, in particular COPD, tuberculosis, bronchial asthma and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, etc. which may coexist with HPS. There is no specific clinical finding to diagnose but digital clubbing, cyanosis, dyspnoea, platypnoea, and spider naevi are more common among cirrhosis with HPS. The presence of HPS independently worsens prognosis of cirrhosis. Even though number of mechanisms have been proposed to explain arterial hypoxemia in HPS, role of nitric oxide is the major one along with cytokines. Liver transplantation is the choice of treatment though mortality is comparatively high. There is no still effective recommended medical therapy to reverse this condition and anti cytokine/ nitric oxide inhibitors, etc are under preliminary stage.

Key words. Hepatopulmonary syndrome, intra pulmonary vasodilation, hypoxia in cirrhosis

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The Official Journal of the Mexican Association of Hepatology, the Latin-American Association for the Study of the Liver and the Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver

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