Portopulmonary hypertension in liver transplant candidates
Bozbas, Serife Savas
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Pulmonary vascular disorders including portopulmonary hypertension (PoPHT) are among the common complications of liver disease and are prognostically significant. Survival is very low without medical treatment and liver transplantation. With advances in medical therapy for elevated pulmonary artery pressure (PAP) and liver transplant surgery, survival of patients with PoPHT and advanced liver disease is significantly improved. Because of the prognostic significance of PoPHT and the limited donor pool, a comprehensive preoperative cardio-pulmonary assessment is of great importance in cirrhotic patients prior to transplant surgery. Therefore, a detailed transthoracic Doppler echocardiographic examination must be an essential component of this evaluation. Patients with mild PoPHT can safely undergo liver transplant surgery. In cases of moderate to severe PoPHT, right heart catheterization (RHC) should be performed. In patients with moderate to severe PoPHT on RHC (mean PAP 35-45 mmHg), vasodilator therapy should be attempted. Liver transplantation should be encouraged in cases that demonstrate a positive response. Bridging therapy with specific pulmonary arterial hypertension treatment agents should be considered until the transplant surgery and should be continued during the peri-and post-operative periods as needed.