• Ischemic hepatitis;
  • cardiac failure


Nineteen episodes of ischemic hepatitis were diagnosed by hepatitic liver function tests and characteristic liver pathology in 17 patients.

All patients had an acute illness associated with a likely fall in cardiac output although only five episodes were associated with documented hypotension. Right ventricular failure was severe in only four, mild in six, and absent in nine whilst left ventricular failure was clinically apparent in 16.

The hepatitic illness was usually mild. No patient died as a direct result of hepatic damage, prognosis depending on the underlying cardiac or systemic disease. Liver function tests were characterised by a marked rise in serum transaminase levels with a parallel increase in serum lactic dehydrogenase of hepatic origin and a short time course of the enzyme elevation lasting 3 to 11 days.

It is concluded that ischemic hepatitis (a) is' caused by poor hepatic perfusion associated with an acute fall in cardiac output; (b) is usually a subclinical illness with little influence on prognosis, and (c) may be accurately differentiated from viral hepatitis on clinical and biochemical criteria alone.