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Summary

Background

In cirrhosis, portal hypertension is associated with a spectrum of renal dysfunction that has significant implications for morbidity and mortality.

Aim

To discuss recent progress in the patho-physiological mechanisms and therapeutic options for portal hypertension-related renal dysfunction.

Methods

A literature search using Pubmed was performed.

Results

Portal hypertension-related renal dysfunction occurs in the setting of marked neuro-humoral and circulatory derangement. A systemic inflammatory response is a pathogenetic factor in advanced disease. Such physiological changes render the individual vulnerable to further deterioration of renal function. Patients are primed to develop acute kidney injury when exposed to additional ‘hits’, such as sepsis. Recent progress has been made regarding our understanding of the aetiopathogenesis. However, treatment options once hepatorenal syndrome develops are limited, and prognosis remains poor. Various strategies to prevent acute kidney injury are suggested.

Conclusion

Prevention of acute kidney injury in high risk patients with cirrhosis and portal hypertension-related renal dysfunction should be a clinical priority.