Cardiovascular abnormalities in special conditions of advanced cirrhosis. The circulatory adaptative changes to specific therapeutic procedures for the management of refractory ascites

Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2006 Apr;29(4):263-72. doi: 10.1157/13086820.


Advanced liver disease is characterized by decreased arterial blood pressure and peripheral vascular resistances, increased cardiac output and heart rate in the setting of a hyperdynamic circulatory pattern favoured by total blood volume expansion, circulatory overload and overactivity of the endogenous vasoactive systems. Reduced heart responses to stressful conditions such as changes in loading conditions of the heart in presence of further deterioration of liver function such as refractory ascites, hepatorenal syndrome, spontaneous bacterial peritonitis and bleeding esophageal varices have been recently identified and the knowledge of the cirrhotic cardiomyopathy syndrome has gained the dignity of a new clinical entity. Facing the availability of therapeutic interventions (paracentesis, transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt, peritoneovenous shunt, orthotopic liver transplantation) currently employed to manage the life-threatening complications of the most advanced phases of cirrhotic disease, the knowledge of their impact on cardiovascular function is of paramount relevance.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Ascites / etiology
  • Ascites / therapy*
  • Blood Circulation
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / complications*
  • Paracentesis
  • Portasystemic Shunt, Transjugular Intrahepatic