TIPS or vasoconstrictors for the treatment of hepatorenal syndrome type 1—effect on survival?

V Gülberg, A L Gerbes
Zeitschrift Für Gastroenterologie 2002, 40 (9): 823-6
HRS is a serious complication in patients with cirrhosis and ascites and associated with a poor prognosis unless liver transplantation can be performed. Two different types of HES are being differentiated according to the clinical presentation: while HRS type I is characterised by rapid deterioration of renal function indicated by a two-fold increase of serum creatinine to values above 2.5 mg/dl or a decrease of creatinine clearance to values below 20 ml/min, HRS type II shows moderately increased serum creatinine above 1.5 mg/dl remaining stable over a longer period. The most prominent circulatory alterations in patients with chronic liver disease comprise portal hypertension and peripheral (mainly splanchnic) arterial vasodilation. This leads to a decreased centrally effective blood volume in cirrhotic patients. As a consequence, activation of sodium- and volume-retaining neurohumoral systems such as the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system and the sympathetic nervous system and a non-osmotic release of arginine-vasopressin can be observed. These neurohumoral alterations induce renal sodium and water retention which are responsible for accumulation of ascites and deterioration of renal function. Recent therapeutic strategies of the hepatorenal syndrome take into account these pathophysiologic considerations: whereas the transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt lowers portal hypertension, infusion of vasoactive drugs increases systemic vascular resistance in cirrhotic patients. Several uncontrolled trials have reported a positive effect of these strategies on renal function. The present analysis of combined data from these reports shows that this positive effect on renal function also may improve survival of patients with HRS type I.

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