[Hepatorenal syndrome: from physiopathology to treatment]

D Aguillon, P Seguin, Y Mallédant
Annales Françaises D'anesthèsie et de Rèanimation 2003, 22 (1): 30-8

OBJECTIVES: Data synthesis on physiopathology and treatment of hepatorenal syndrome (HRS).

DATA SOURCES: Data were searched in the Medline database from 1975 to 2002 using the following key-words: hepatorenal syndrome, ascite, cirrhosis and portal hypertension.

DATA EXTRACTION: Publications from 1986 to 2002 were selected depending on the quality of their methodology and their pertinence. One publication from 1975 was kept.

DATA SYNTHESIS: Hepatorenal syndrome is a common and severe complication of patients with advanced liver cirrhosis with ascites. It is a functional renal failure due to intense vasoconstriction of the renal circulation secondary to an intense splanchnic vasodilatation. Two types of HRS are differentiated mainly by the speed and the magnitude of the renal failure. Liver transplantation remains the best treatment but is rarely applicable because of the short survival after diagnosis. In the last few years, new therapy have been developed, vasoconstrictor drugs which mainly elicit their effects on the splanchnic circulation as vasopressin and principally its analogues ornipressine and terlipressine are effective in improving renal function and could act as bridge for liver transplantation. The place of the transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt remain to be evaluated.

CONCLUSION: Prognosis of patients with HRS remains poor but the pharmacologic treatment by terlipressine has improved the prognosis particularly in order to wait liver transplantation.

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