The aim of this study was to determine the effects of the long-acting somatostatin analog, octreotide, on portal venous pressure and collateral blood flow in cirrhotic patients with portal hypertension during fasting and postprandial states. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, we investigated the effects of octreotide on the hepatic venous pressures and azygos blood flow of 21 patients before and after a standard liquid meal containing 40 gm of protein in 250 ml. Octreotide significantly reduced azygos blood flow from a mean of 499 ± 65 ml/min to a mean of 355 ± 47 ml/min (p < 0.01), but it had no effect on the hepatic venous pressure gradient. The hepatic venous pressure gradient of patients in the placebo group increased significantly, from a fasting mean of 16.4 ± 1.6 mm Hg to a mean of 20.0 ± 1.7 mm Hg 30 min after the meal (p < 0.01). In a second protocol hepatic venous pressures were measured in 20 patients at 30-min intervals for 2 hr after ingestion of the mixed meal. Again the placebo group showed a significant increase in the hepatic venous pressure gradient 30 min after the meal (20.4 ± 1.5 mm Hg vs. 18.2 ± 1.2 mm Hg; p < 0.05), but the group receiving octreotide showed no significant changes during the 2 hr of observation. We conclude that octreotide significantly reduces azygos blood flow, with little effect on portal venous pressure, and that it appears to inhibit postprandial increases in portal pressure in cirrhotic patients with portal hypertension. (HEPATOLOGY 1992;16:1180–1186.)
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