Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2021 Mar 10. doi: 10.1111/apt.16305. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Patients with cirrhosis are at risk of developing cirrhotic cardiomyopathy. This syndrome is unique to cirrhosis and is generally defined as subnormal cardiac function in the absence of prior heart disease. There is no systematic or comprehensive review of cirrhotic cardiomyopathy to date.
AIMS: To comprehensively review the literature on the definition, pathogenic mechanisms, diagnostic criteria, prevalence, management and influence on liver transplantation including reversibility of cirrhotic cardiomyopathy.
METHODS: Electronic searches of the EMBASE, MEDLINE, EBM Reviews-Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, EBM Reviews-Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and Google Scholar databases were conducted. MeSH terms focused on cirrhosis, cardiomyopathy, medication classes and epidemiology. Literature up to August 2020 was reviewed.
RESULTS: New diagnostic criteria for the definition of cirrhotic cardiomyopathy have recently been published, consisting of systolic and diastolic dysfunction parameters as assessed by echocardiographic methods. The roles of electrocardiographic disturbances and biomarkers in the definition criteria remain unclear. Pathogenic mechanisms underlying cirrhotic cardiomyopathy are likely related to the inflammatory phenotype of cirrhosis. Prevalence rates of 26%-81% in cirrhotic patients are reported. Several medical therapies have been proposed, but none with clear evidence of efficacy. The presence of cirrhotic cardiomyopathy complicates the liver transplantation process with a higher risk of adverse cardiovascular events post-transplant. Complete reversibility of the syndrome after transplantation remains controversial but most studies suggest that it does not occur at least within the first post-operative year.
CONCLUSIONS: Cirrhotic cardiomyopathy is a clinically relevant syndrome that affects morbidity and mortality in patients with cirrhosis.