Portopulmonary hypertension (POPH) occurs in 5.3% to 8.5% of patients with advanced liver disease. The rate of survival in the absence of orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) is reportedly 38% at 3 years and 28% at 5 years. Moderate to severe POPH [mean pulmonary artery pressure (MPAP) ≥ 35 mm Hg] is associated with a perioperative mortality rate of 50%. Single-center series have demonstrated the feasibility and short-term efficacy of OLT after POPH is controlled with vasodilators, but long-term outcomes have not been reported. Our aim was to determine graft and patient survival rates and the effects of OLT on pulmonary hypertension (PHT) in patients undergoing transplantation for POPH at our center. Four hundred eighty-eight adult patients underwent transplantation between June 2004 and January 2011, and 7 underwent transplantation for POPH after their MPAP was reduced to ≤35 mm Hg with vasodilators. These 7 patients included 3 men and 4 women with ages ranging from 39 to 54 years at the time of OLT. All patients received IV EPO or inhaled EPO during the perioperative period, and all were weaned off EPO over the course of 3 days to 8 months. Both the graft and patient survival rates were 85.7% after a median follow-up of 7.8 years. One patient had recurrent hepatitis C virus cirrhosis and recurrent POPH and died from multiorgan failure unrelated to PHT. Four of the remaining 6 patients required oral vasodilator therapy for persistent PHT. Only 2 of the 7 patients (4.4 and 8.5 years after OLT) did not have PHT. In conclusion, patients with POPH responsive to vasodilator therapy may have excellent long-term graft and patient survival after OLT. Despite the alleviation of portal hypertension by OLT, most patients have persistent or recurrent PHT that can be controlled with oral vasodilators.
© 2014 American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.