Renal diseases and the liver

Clin Liver Dis. 2011 Feb;15(1):39-53. doi: 10.1016/j.cld.2010.09.011.


Many liver diseases coexist with chronic renal disease, because many systemic conditions affect both the liver and the kidneys. Certain liver diseases are also common in patients with chronic renal disease, especially viral hepatitis, either because the renal disease occurs as a complication of viral hepatitis, or the viral hepatitis is acquired as a result of dialysis. Renal tubular dysfunction is also frequently observed with cholestasis. However, liver complications of renal diseases are extremely uncommon, notable examples include nephrogenic ascites and nephrogenic hepatic dysfunction. Nephrogenic ascites can mimic liver cirrhosis with ascites, and it improves with renal transplantation. Nephrogenic hepatic dysfunction is a manifestation of renal cell carcinoma, which settles with the removal of the renal cell carcinoma, but returns with the recurrence of the tumor. In general, the presence of liver disease in patients with chronic renal disease makes management of both conditions more challenging. Viral hepatitis should be treated, if possible, before renal transplant. If cirrhosis is present, renal transplant alone is contraindicated; combined liver and kidney transplantation is indicated in patients with end-stage renal disease and advanced cirrhosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Contraindications
  • Humans
  • Kidney Diseases / complications*
  • Kidney Diseases / physiopathology
  • Kidney Diseases / virology
  • Kidney Transplantation
  • Liver Diseases / complications*
  • Liver Diseases / physiopathology
  • Liver Diseases / virology
  • Renal Dialysis / adverse effects