Doppler study of mesenteric, hepatic, and portal circulation in alcoholic cirrhosis: Relationship between quantitative doppler measurements and the severity of portal hypertension and hepatic failure



To determine the relationship between quantitative Doppler parameters of portal, hepatic, and splanchnic circulation and hepatic venous pressure gradient (HVPG), variceal size, and Child–Pugh class in patients with alcoholic cirrhosis, we studied forty patients with proved alcoholic cirrhosis who underwent Doppler ultrasonography, hepatic vein catheterization, and esophagoscopy. The following Doppler parameters were recorded: time-averaged mean blood velocity, volume flow of the main portal vein flow, and resistance index (RI) of the hepatic and of the superior mesenteric artery. Doppler findings were compared with HVPG, presence and size of esophageal varices, and Child–Pugh class. There was a significant inverse correlation between portal velocity and HVPG (r = −.69), as well as between portal vein flow and HVPG (r = −.58). No correlation was found between RI in the hepatic artery or superior mesenteric artery and HVPG. No correlation was found between portal vein measurements and presence and size of varices. Severe liver failure was associated with lower portal velocity and flow. In patients with alcoholic cirrhosis, only portal vein blood velocity and flow, but neither hepatic nor mesenteric artery RI, are correlated to the severity of portal hypertension and to the severity of liver failure.