Hepatopulmonary syndrome

Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2018 Jul 24. doi: 10.1097/MEG.0000000000001207. [Epub ahead of print]Prevalence and characteristics of hepatopulmonary syndrome in children with cirrhosis in southern Brazil.Ceza MR1, Garcia E2, Anselmi CE2, Epifanio M1, Melere MU1, Ferreira CT1, Steinhaus C1, Coral GP2.


Hepatopulmonary syndrome (HPS) is defined as a triad characterized by arterial deoxygenation, intrapulmonary vascular dilatations (IPVDs), and liver disorder. The aims of this study were to assess the prevalence of HPS in children with cirrhosis, the clinical characteristics of patients with HPS, and the tests used for the diagnosis of IPVD.

This was a prospective, cross-sectional study of 40 children with cirrhosis (median age: 44 months). Investigations of HPS included arterial blood gas analysis, contrast-enhanced transthoracic echocardiography (CE-TTE), and perfusion lung scanning using technetium-99m-labeled macroaggregated albumin (Tc-MMA). Patients' clinical characteristics (age, etiology of cirrhosis, and severity of hepatopathy) were assessed. HPS was defined as liver disease; alveolar-arterial oxygen gradient of at least 15 mmHg and/or partial pressure of arterial oxygen less than 80 mmHg; and detection of IPVD by CE-TTE or Tc-MMA scanning. Statistical significance was indicated by a P value less than 0.05.

The prevalence of HPS was 42.5% (17/40). Eight patients had moderate HPS (47%) and two patients had severe HPS (12%). In bivariate analysis, biliary atresia (P=0.033) and median age (10 months; P=0.005) were associated with HPS. In multivariate analysis, only age remained statistically significant (prevalence ratio=0.99; 95% confidence interval=0.98-0.99; P=0.010). Sixteen patients with HPS had IPVD detected by CE-TTE (94.1%) and six patients had IPVD detected by Tc-MMA scanning (35.3%), with no significant agreement between these methods (κ=-0.12; P=0.163).

HPS is a common complication of cirrhosis in children. A combination of clinical and imaging criteria should be used to diagnose HPS.

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