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Echocardiographic Detection of Intrapulmonary Shunting in a Patient with Hepatopulmonary Syndrome: Case Report and Review of the Literature


Address for correspondence and reprint requests: Jeffrey T. Kuvin, M.D., Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Tufts-New England Medical Center, 750 Washington Street, Box 315, Boston, MA 02111. Fax: 617-636-4769; E-mail:


Transthoracic echocardiography is a useful tool in the evaluation of patients with intrapulmonary and intracardiac shunts. We describe a case of a 49-year-old female with severe hypoxemia in the setting of aortic stenosis and cirrhosis of the liver. The use of agitated saline contrast during an echocardiography study helped to establish the diagnosis of intrapulmonary arteriovenous shunting consistent with the hepatopulmonary syndrome, thereby confirming the etiology of her symptoms and laboratory findings. This case report highlights the utility of echocardiography in diagnosing intrapulmonary shunts and assists in the understanding of the pathophysiology of hypoxemia in such patients.

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