Liver cirrhosis: changes of Doppler waveform of hepatic veins

Radiology. 1991 Feb;178(2):513-6. doi: 10.1148/radiology.178.2.1987617.


The authors compared the Doppler ultrasonographic pattern of hepatic veins (HVs) in a group of 60 patients affected by liver cirrhosis and in 65 healthy subjects comparable for sex and age to (a) detect possible differences in HV waveform in the two groups and (b) investigate the relationship of these differences with the severity of the disease (according to Child-Pugh classification) and the modifications of systemic hemodynamics. The waveform of HVs was arbitrarily classified into three patterns: HV0, a normal waveform; HV1, lower oscillations without the reversed phase; and HV2, completely flat waveform. The resistivity index of the superior mesenteric artery, reflecting the peripheral splanchnic impedance and the hyperdynamic circulation, was also measured in a subgroup of 45 cirrhotic patients. The waveform of HVs in all healthy subjects corresponded to the HV0 pattern. Among cirrhotic patients, HV0 was found in 30 (50%), HV1 in 19 (31.7%), and HV2 in 11 (81.3%). The severity of functional impairment was greatest in the HV2 group and least in the HV0 group. This was significantly correlated with the decrease of the resistivity index in the superior mesenteric artery in the subgroup of 45 patients. Changes in the normal HV waveform could be considered a useful adjunctive tool for the noninvasive evaluation of liver disease. The pathophysiology of these changes in HV blood flow is still unclear. The significant correlation with the severity of the disease and with the decrease of splanchnic resistances indicates that these changes in the HV waveform occur in the presence of marked rearrangements of liver tissue and of hyperdynamic systemic circulation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Female
  • Hepatic Veins / diagnostic imaging*
  • Hepatic Veins / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Liver Cirrhosis / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ultrasonography