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Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2003 Jun;284(6):G970-9. Epub 2003 Feb 26.

Central and noncentral blood volumes in cirrhosis: relationship to anthropometrics and gender.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Physiology, Hvidovre Hospital, University of Copenhagen, DK-2650 Copenhagen, Denmark.


The size of the central and arterial blood volume (CBV) is essential in the understanding of fluid retention in cirrhosis. Previously, it has been reported decreased, normal, or increased, but no reports have analyzed CBV with respect to gender and lean body mass. The aim of the present study was by means of an optimized technique to reassess it in a large group of patients with cirrhosis compared with healthy controls and matched controls in relationship to their body dimensions and gender. Eighty-three patients with cirrhosis (male/female, 60:23), 67 patients without liver disease (male/female, 22:45), and 14 young healthy controls (male/female, 6:8) underwent a hemodynamic investigation with determination of cardiac output, central circulation time, and CBV determined according to kinetic principles. Related to gender, CBV was lower in male cirrhotics (1.48 +/- 0.30 liter) than in matched and young controls (1.68 +/- 0.33 and 1.72 +/- 0.33 liter, respectively; P < 0.05-0.01). No significant differences in CBV were seen between female cirrhotics and controls. Absolute and adjusted CBVs were lower in the females than in men with cirrhosis (P < 0.001), and men with cirrhosis had lower absolute and body weight-adjusted CBVs than matched controls (P < 0.01). Normalized values of CBV (%total blood volume) were significantly lower in patients with cirrhosis (25 +/- 4%) than in matched controls (31 +/- 7%) and young controls (28 +/- 4%; P < 0.02). CBV correlated significantly with anthropometrics, including lean body mass (r = 0.68-0.82; P < 0.0001). In conclusion, the CBV of patients with cirrhosis was lower than that of controls when adjusted for body dimensions and gender. There are significant gender differences, and signs of underfilling are more pronounced in male than in female patients. The results emphasize the importance of adjustments of blood volumes for anthropometrics and gender.

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