Objective: The mechanisms of hemodynamic alterations in colorectal liver metastases are not clearly understood yet. Considering that an increase in liver size in patients with metastases could also result in an alteration in total liver flow, we aimed to analyze hemodynamic changes relative to the liver volume and to search for the possibility of any intrinsic factors affecting blood flow in patients with metastases.
Methods: Twenty-eight patients with colorectal liver metastases and 20 control subjects with no liver disease were evaluated sonographically. All patients were examined prospectively by Doppler sonography and helical computed tomography. Hepatic hemodynamic parameters, including blood flow in the hepatic artery and portal vein, total blood flow to the liver, and Doppler perfusion index, were calculated, and values relative to liver volume were obtained. Hepatic perfusion changes in liver metastases were then compared with those in a control group.
Results: The liver volume of the patients with liver metastases was greater than that of the control group (P=.003). Hepatic arterial blood flow rates were higher, whereas portal flow rates were lower, in patients with liver metastases compared with control subjects (P<.05). Total liver blood flow was not significantly different between the two groups. However, total blood flow relative to liver volume was significantly lower in the metastatic group (P<.001). Doppler perfusion index values in the patients with metastasis were significantly higher than in the control group (P=.000).
Conclusions: Our findings may support the hypothesis that a humoral mediator-induced portal venous flow reduction causes perfusion changes in liver metastases from colorectal disease. However, an additional intrinsic hepatic hemodynamic event should also be present. Doppler perfusion index measurements can provide additional information in the evaluation of patients with colorectal liver metastases.