The heart and the liver.
Expert Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2009 Feb;3(1):51-64
Authors: Møller S, Dümcke CW, Krag A
Cardiac failure affects the liver and liver dysfunction affects the heart. Chronic and acute heart failure can lead to cardiac cirrhosis and cardiogenic ischemic hepatitis. These conditions may impair liver function and treatment should be directed towards the primary heart disease and seek to secure perfusion of vital organs. In patients with advanced cirrhosis, physical and/or pharmacological stress may reveal a reduced cardiac performance with systolic and diastolic dysfunction and electrophysical abnormalities, termed cirrhotic cardiomyopathy. Pathophysiological mechanisms include reduced beta-adrenergic receptor signal transduction and defective cardiac electromechanical coupling. However, the QT interval is prolonged in approximately half of patients with cirrhosis and it may be improved by beta-blockers. No specific therapy can be recommended but it should be supportive and directed against the heart failure. Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt insertion and liver transplantation affect cardiac function in portal hypertensive patients and cause stress to the cirrhotic heart, with a risk of perioperative heart failure. The risk and prevalence of coronary artery disease are increasing in cirrhotic patients and since perioperative mortality is high, careful evaluation of such patients with dobutamine stress echocardiography, coronary angiography and myocardial perfusion imaging is required prior to liver transplantation. Future research should focus on beneficial effects of treatment on cardiac function and mortality.
PMID: 19210113 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]