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Abstract

The gradient between wedged and free hepatic venous pressures was measured in patients with alcoholic cirrhosis before and 1, 3, and 9 months after continuous oral administration of propranolol at doses reducing the heart rate by 25% or after administration of a placebo. The gradient between wedged and free hepatic venous pressures decreased throughout the duration of propranolol administration, and it did not significantly change in the patients receiving placebo. Since the gradient between wedged and free hepatic venous pressures closely reflects portal venous pressure in alcoholic cirrhosis, it is concluded that continuous oral administration of propranolol produced sustained reduction in portal venous pressure in these patients.