Wedged hepatic venous pressure, free hepatic venous pressure and cardiac index were measured before and 1 hr after i.v. administration as well as 1 month and 3 months after chronic oral administration of verapamil in 10 patients with HBsAg-positive cirrhosis.

The gradient between wedged hepatic venous pressure and free hepatic venous pressure was decreased 14% at 1 hr after i.v. administration of 10 mg verapamil, and the sustained decrease in hepatic venous pressure gradient was also demonstrated in the patients after 1 month, and in six patients after 3 months of continuous oral administration of verapamil. The mean arterial pressure significantly decreased (p<0.01) 1 hr after the administration of verapamil. There was no significant change in other hemodynamic values. We conclude that chronic oral administration of verapamil can reduce the hepatic venous pressure gradient in patients with compensated HBsAg-positive cirrhosis and portal hypertension.