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Optimal management of hepatorenal syndrome in patients with cirrhosis

Paolo Angeli, Filippo Morando
Hepatic Medicine: Evidence and Research 2010, 2: 87-98
24367209
Hepatorenal syndrome (HRS) is a functional renal failure that often occurs in patients with cirrhosis and ascites. HRS develops as a consequence of a severe reduction of effective circulating volume due to both an extreme splanchnic arterial vasodilatation and a reduction of cardiac output. There are 2 different types of HRS. Type 1 HRS, which is often precipitated by a bacterial infection, especially spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, is characterized by a rapidly progressive impairment of renal function. Despite its functional origin, the prognosis of type 1 HRS is very poor. Type 2 HRS is characterized by a stable or slowly progressive renal failure so that its main clinical consequence is not acute renal failure but refractory ascites and its impact on prognosis is less negative. New treatments (vasoconstrictors plus albumin, transjugular portosystemic shunt, and molecular adsorbent recirculating system), which were introduced in the past 10 years, are effective in improving renal function in patients with HRS. Among these treatments vasoconstrictors plus albumin can also improve survival in patients with type 1 HRS. Thus, this therapeutic approach has changed the management of this severe complication in patients with advanced cirrhosis.

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