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Scand J Gastroenterol. 1999 Sep;34(9):921-7.

The effect of increasing blood pressure with dopamine on systemic, splanchnic, and lower extremity hemodynamics in patients with acute liver failure.

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  • 1Dept of Hepatology, Cardiology, and Anesthesiology, Rigshospitalet, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.



Arterial hypotension occurs frequently in patients with acute liver failure (ALF). Treatment with epinephrine and norepinephrine in patients with ALF has been associated with a decrease in whole-body (systemic) oxygen consumption. We aimed to investigate the effect of increasing blood pressure with dopamine on whole-body (systemic), splanchnic, and lower extremity hemodynamics and oxygen consumption in patients with acute liver failure and hepatic encephalopathy grade III or IV.


In seven patients with ALF cardiac output (CO) was measured with the thermodilution technique, and hepatic blood flow (HBF) was estimated with infusion of sorbitol as test compound, liver vein catheterization, and calculations on the basis of Fick's principle. Lower-extremity blood flow was measured with strain-gauge plethysmography.


During infusion of dopamine (5 +/- 2 microg kg(-1) min(-1)) mean arterial pressure (MAP) increased from 68 +/- 5 to 85 +/- 8 mmHg. CO increased from 6.8 +/- 0.8 to 9.0 +/- 2.4 l/min (P < 0.05), systemic oxygen delivery from 45 +/- 7 to 63 +/- 19 mmol/min (P < 0.05), systemic oxygen consumption from 10.2 +/- 2.0 to 11.5 +/- 3.3 mmol/min (NS). HBF increased from 2.2 +/- 0.7 to 2.7 +/- 1.0 l/ min (P < 0.05), splanchnic oxygen delivery from 14.4 +/- 5.3 to 18.5 +/- 7.2 mmol/min (P < 0.01), and splanchnic oxygen consumption decreased from 3.9 +/- 1.1 to 2.9 +/- 0.6 mmol/min (P < 0.05). No significant changes in lower extremity flow and oxygenation variables were found.


The use of dopamine in patients with ALF to increase MAP was associated with increases in systemic and splanchnic oxygen delivery. A concomitant decrease in splanchnic oxygen consumption was observed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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