Systemic and splanchnic hemodynamic changes after liver transplantation for cirrhosis: A long-term prospective study



The effect of orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) on the systemic and splanchnic hemodynamic alterations of cirrhosis is still largely unknown. The aim of this study was to prospectively investigate the long-term changes induced by OLT on several hemodynamic parameters. In 28 patients undergoing OLT for cirrhosis, the following parameters were measured before surgery and subsequently at 6-month intervals (mean follow-up period, 17 months): cardiac index, mean arterial pressure (MAP), heart rate, total peripheral resistance (TPR), portal vein flow velocity and flow volume, spleen size, and Doppler ultrasound resistance or pulsatility indexes (RI or PI) in the: 1) interlobular renal, 2) superior mesenteric, 3) splenic, and 4) hepatic arteries. The same parameters were measured in 10 healthy controls. After OLT, cardiac index and heart rate significantly decreased (P < .01), while MAP and TPR increased (P < .001), so that any significant difference from controls disappeared. Renal RI progressively decreased, achieving a significant reduction (P < .05) to normal values at the 12th month of follow-up. Portal flow velocity and hepatic and splenic RI returned to values not significantly different from controls. Portal flow volume increased over normal values after OLT (P < .001), and SMA PI, lower than normal before OLT, did not show any statistically significant increase thereafter. Spleen size decreased significantly, but persisted to be larger than in controls. In conclusion, systemic, renal, and most, but interestingly not all, splanchnic circulatory alterations of cirrhosis are restored to normal after OLT.