Estimation of the hepatic blood “flow” by galactose plasma clearance in patients with liver disease


Istituto di Patologia Medica University of Trieste 34100 Trieste Italy


ABSTRACT— Following intravenous administration of 500 mg/kg b.wt. galactose, Galactose Elimination Capacity (GEC, mg/min/kg) was determined in 24 subjects with chronic non-cirrhotic liver disease (CLD), 33 with liver cirrhosis and 11 controls. GEC was significantly (P<0.01) reduced in both CLD and cirrhosis. A statistically significant difference (P<0.01) was present between these two groups. Following the plasma disappearance curve at concentrations below 1.25 mmol/1, at which the extraction coefficient is assumed to be equal to one, the “Efficient Hepatic Blood Flow” (EHBF, ml/min) was determined in 11 consecutive cirrhosis patients, seven patients with CLD and 11 controls. EHBF was normal or slightly reduced in CLD as compared to controls (1046 ± 216 vs. 1471 ± 156 ml/min, mean ± SEM, n.s.) whereas it was markedly reduced in cirrhosis (846 ± 96 ml/min, mean ± SEM, p<0.001). Interestingly, a significant linear correlation (r = 0.757, p<0.001) was present between EHBF and the plasma clearance of sulfobromophthalein. No correlation was present, on the other hand, between the value of GEC and that of EHBF. These data indicate that after a single intravenous injection of galactose, the hepatic blood flow passing through the enzymatically active parts of the liver (i.e. excluding shunts) can be measured.