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Liver Transpl. 2000 Jan;6(1):85-91.

Clinical predictors of pulmonary hypertension in patients undergoing liver transplant evaluation.

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  • 1Division of Cardiology, Division of Hepatology, Division of Transplantation Surgery-Section of Liver Transplantation, Albert Einstein Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA 19141, USA.


Clinical prediction of portopulmonary hypertension (PPHTN) is critical in the preoperative evaluation of candidates for orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) because of its association with significant morbidity and mortality. To determine the clinical, laboratory, and echocardiographic predictors of PPHTN, we retrospectively evaluated 55 candidates before OLT. From those, 8 candidates had pulmonary hypertension ([HTN] group A) and 47 candidates did not (group B). Pulmonary HTN was defined as a mean pulmonary artery pressure (PAP) of 25 mm Hg or greater and either elevated pulmonary vascular resistance or normal pulmonary artery wedge pressure. The significant predictors of PPHTN were (1) systemic arterial HTN (63% in group A v 9% in group B; P <.001), (2) loud pulmonary component of the second heart sound (38% v 2%; P =. 001), (3) right ventricular (RV) heave (38% v 4%; P =.002), (4) RV dilatation by echocardiogram (63% v 0%; P <.001), (5) RV hypertrophy by echocardiogram (38% v 0%; P =.001), and (6) echocardiogram-estimated systolic PAP (SPAP) greater than 40 mm Hg (63% v 2%; P <.001). The sensitivity of these variables for the detection of pulmonary HTN ranges from 37% to 63%, and their specificity from 91% to 100%. We conclude that several clinical and echocardiographic features are significantly associated with pulmonary HTN in patients with cirrhosis. In particular, echocardiogram-estimated SPAP greater than 40 mm Hg is strongly associated with pulmonary HTN and is specific. These predictors, however, are not sensitive enough to identify all the patients with PPHTN. Therefore, the evaluation of a combination of these variables may be useful for the preoperative identification of pulmonary HTN in liver transplant candidates.

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