Diagnosis of portopulmonary hypertension in candidates for liver transplantation: a prospective study

Hepatology. 2003 Feb;37(2):401-9. doi: 10.1053/jhep.2003.50060.


Portopulmonary hypertension represents a major risk factor for transplantation; therefore, preoperative detection is crucial. The aims of this study were to determine (1) whether Doppler echocardiography performed at evaluation is a reliable tool for detecting portopulmonary hypertension and (2) the incidence of acquired portopulmonary hypertension profile after evaluation. One hundred sixty-five patients had Doppler echocardiography and right heart catheterization at evaluation over a 9-year period. All patients had a prospective follow-up, and the results of catheterization at evaluation were compared with those obtained at the time of transplantation. Seventeen of 165 patients met the criteria for portopulmonary hypertension on Doppler echocardiography. Portopulmonary hypertension was confirmed by catheterization in 10 patients and ruled out in 7. There were no false negatives for echocardiography. Mean pulmonary artery pressure was significantly higher during the initial phase of transplantation than at evaluation (17.8 +/- 4.3 vs. 20.3 +/- 5.5 mm Hg, respectively, P <.0001), and there was no significant correlation between values obtained at these 2 time points. Three patients showed to have acquired portopulmonary hypertension profile while waiting for a graft within time intervals ranging from 2.5 to 5 months. In conclusion, Doppler echocardiography is a highly sensitive tool for detecting portopulmonary hypertension. However, because this technique has a poor positive predictive value, right heart catheterization is recommended for confirming portopulmonary hypertension. In addition, the absence of portopulmonary hypertension at evaluation does not exclude the occasional occurrence of acquired portopulmonary hypertension profile after listing.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cardiac Catheterization
  • Echocardiography, Doppler* / standards
  • Female
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Portal / diagnostic imaging*
  • Hypertension, Portal / etiology
  • Hypertension, Portal / physiopathology
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / diagnostic imaging*
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / etiology
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / physiopathology
  • Liver Diseases / complications
  • Liver Diseases / surgery*
  • Liver Transplantation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Selection
  • Prospective Studies