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Anatomical cardiac alterations in liver cirrhosis: An autopsy study

Nayeli X. Ortiz-Olvera, Guillermo Castellanos-Pallares, Luz M. Gómez-Jiménez, María L. Cabrera-Muñoz, Jorge Méndez-Navarro, Segundo Morán-Villota, Margarita Dehesa-Violante

Abstract

Background. It has been suggested that liver cirrhosis (LC), regardless of etiology, may be associated with anatomical cardiac alterations. Objective. To describe the frequency and type of macroscopical anatomic cardiac abnormalities present in alcoholic and non-alcoholic cirrhotic patients in an autopsy series. Material and methods. The autopsy records performed at our institution during a 12-year period (1990-2002) were reviewed. All cases with final diagnosis of LC were included, their demographic characteristics as well as cirrhosis etiology and macroscopic anatomical cardiac abnormalities (MACA) analyzed. Patients with any known history of heart disease prior to diagnosis of cirrhosis were excluded. Results. A total of 1,176 autopsies were performed, of which 135 cases (11.5%) were patients with LC. Two patients with cardiac cirrhosis were excluded. Chronic alcohol abuse (29%) and chronic hepatitis due to hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection (20%) were the most common causes of cirrhosis. The etiology was not identified in 35% of the cases, even after exhaustive clinical, serological and/or radiological assessment. In the postmortem analysis, 43% of the cases were informed to have MACA (47% in the group of patients with alcoholic cirrhosis and 41% in other types of cirrhosis); this rate increased to 62% in patients with ascites. The most frequent alterations were cardiomegaly and left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH). Conclusion. The results confirm the high frequency of cardiac abnormalities in patients with cirrhosis, regardless of cirrhosis etiology.

Key words. Cardiomyopathy, Ventricular hypertrophy, Alcoholic cirrhosis, Ascites, Hepatitis C

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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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