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J Hepatol. 1999 Mar;30(3):503-10.

Splanchnic haemodynamics after intravenous terlipressin in anaesthetised healthy pigs.

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Department of Medical Gastroenterology, Hvidovre Hospital, Denmark.



Terlipressin is used for the treatment of bleeding oesophageal varices. We evaluated the effects of terlipressin on hepatic haemodynamics, with special focus on the interactions between portal venous flow and hepatic arterial flow over time. Secondly, we evaluated the estimated hepatic blood flow by the ICG clearance method against direct measurements of hepatic blood flow.


Eight healthy anaesthetised pigs received terlipressin 1 mg or placebo intravenously in a randomised, blind, cross-over design. Hepatic arterial flow, portal venous flow, systemic haemodynamics, and portal vein diameter were recorded simultaneously. Portal venous flow and hepatic arterial flow were measured by transit time ultrasound flowmetry. Estimated hepatic blood flows at baseline and after terlipressin were compared with the sum of the portal venous flow and hepatic arterial flow.


Portal venous flow decreased significantly 5 min after administration of terlipressin (p<0.05). At 30 min it had decreased by 34% (p<0.01) and the hepatic arterial flow had increased by 81% (p<0.01). The estimated hepatic blood flow and the hepatic blood flow decreased by 23% (p<0.015). At baseline the estimated hepatic blood flow and the hepatic blood flow correlated significantly (r=0.85, p<0.01), but this correlation disappeared after administration of terlipressin (r=0.06, p=ns). The hepatic blood flow was 12% higher than the estimated hepatic blood flow before and after terlipressin.


Terlipressin decreased the portal venous flow, hepatic blood flow, and estimated hepatic blood flow significantly and was accompanied by a substantial increase in hepatic arterial flow. The estimated hepatic blood flow and hepatic blood flow were strongly correlated at baseline, but after terlipressin the correlation disappeared.

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