Liver transplantation for treatment of intrahepatic Osler's disease: first experiences

Transplantation. 2001 Jul 27;72(2):237-41. doi: 10.1097/00007890-200107270-00012.


Background: Intrahepatic Osler's disease with multiple arteriovenous malformations and high intrahepatic shunting may lead to secondary pulmonary hypertension followed by right-heart stress and insufficiency. Until now, therapy with arterial embolization, banding, or ligation of the hepatic arteries is still limited and provides unsatisfactory long-term results. Liver transplantation offers another therapeutic option.

Methods: We report on four patients with intrahepatic involvement of Osler's disease who were liver transplanted between 1995 and 1999. All patients suffered from restricted liver function and right-heart insufficiency with multiple cardiac decompensations. One patient received one course of embolization, and another received six courses of embolization and then banding of the main hepatic artery before transplantation. In both patients, the clinical symptoms improved for only a few months.

Results: All patients had high degrees of intrahepatic arteriovenous shunting, and cardiac output measurements were between 8.0 to 13.3 L/min preoperatively. Preoperative mean pulmonary artery pressure was between 24 to 35 mmHg. After liver transplantation, cardiac output and right-heart diameter decreased or normalized and pulmonary pressure reached the normal range after 2 months. All patients received tacrolimus and steroids for primary immunosuppression. In one case, temporary hemodialysis was necessary for 2 weeks after transplantation, but renal function recovered completely. After follow-up time of 12 to 65 months, all patients had normal graft function and good cardiopulmonary condition.

Conclusions: Indication for liver transplantation should be considered in patients with intrahepatic Osler's disease, high arteriovenous shunting with right-heart stress, and restricted liver function before irreversible fixed pulmonary hypertension leads to severe right-heart insufficiency or failure. Our therapeutic regimen of early liver transplantation in the case of intrahepatic Osler's disease in four patients has promising results.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Arteriovenous Anastomosis / pathology
  • Blood Pressure
  • Cardiac Output
  • Embolization, Therapeutic
  • Female
  • Hemodynamics
  • Hepatic Artery
  • Humans
  • Liver Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Liver Diseases / surgery*
  • Liver Function Tests
  • Liver Transplantation* / physiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Pulmonary Artery
  • Renal Dialysis
  • Telangiectasia, Hereditary Hemorrhagic / diagnostic imaging
  • Telangiectasia, Hereditary Hemorrhagic / surgery*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed