Diagnosis and Management of Cirrhotic Cardiomyopathy

J Clin Exp Hepatol. 2022 Jan-Feb;12(1):186-199. doi: 10.1016/j.jceh.2021.08.016. Epub 2021 Aug 21.


Background: Cirrhotic cardiomyopathy refers to the structural and functional changes in the heart leading to either impaired systolic, diastolic, electrocardiographic, and neurohormonal changes associated with cirrhosis and portal hypertension. Cirrhotic cardiomyopathy is present in 50% of patients with cirrhosis and is clinically seen as impaired contractility, diastolic dysfunction, hyperdynamic circulation, and electromechanical desynchrony such as QT prolongation. In this review, we will discuss the cardiac physiology principles underlying cirrhotic cardiomyopathy, imaging techniques such as cardiac magnetic resonance imaging and scintigraphy, cardiac biomarkers, and newer echocardiographic techniques such as tissue Doppler imaging and speckle tracking, and emerging treatments to improve outcomes.

Methods: We reviewed available literature from MEDLINE for randomized controlled trials, cohort studies, cross-sectional studies, and real-world outcomes using the search terms "cirrhotic cardiomyopathy," "left ventricular diastolic dysfunction," "heart failure in cirrhosis," "liver transplantation," and "coronary artery disease".

Results: Cirrhotic cardiomyopathy is associated with increased risk of complications such as hepatorenal syndrome, refractory ascites, impaired response to stressors including sepsis, bleeding or transplantation, poor health-related quality of life and increased morbidity and mortality. The evaluation of cirrhotic cardiomyopathy should also guide the feasibility of procedures such as transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt, dose titration protocol of betablockers, and liver transplantation. The use of targeted heart rate reduction is of interest to improve cardiac filling and improve the cardiac output using repurposed heart failure drugs such as ivabradine. Liver transplantation may also reverse the cirrhotic cardiomyopathy; however, careful cardiac evaluation is necessary to rule out coronary artery disease and improve cardiac outcomes in the perioperative period.

Conclusion: More data are needed on the new diagnostic criteria, molecular and biochemical changes, and repurposed drugs in cirrhotic cardiomyopathy. The use of advanced imaging techniques should be incorporated in clinical practice.

Keywords: 2-AG, 2-arachidonylglycerol; 2D, two-dimensional; AEA, Anandamide; ANP, Atrial Natriuretic Peptide; ASE, the American Society of Echocardiography; AUC, area under the curve; BA, bile acid; BNP, Brain natriuretic peptide; CAD, coronary artery disease; CB-1, cannabinoid −1; CCM, Cirrhotic Cardiomyopathy; CMR, cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging; CO, cardiac output; CT, computed tomography; CTP, Child–Turcotte–Pugh; CVP, central venous pressure; DT, deceleration Time; ECG, electrocardiogram; ECV, extracellular volume; EF, Ejection fraction; EMD, electromechanical desynchrony; ESLD, end-stage liver disease; FXR, Farnesoid X receptor; GI, gastrointestinal; GLS, Global Longitudinal strain; HCN, Hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide–gated; HE, hepatic encephalopathy; HF, heart failure; HO, Heme oxygenase; HPS, hepatopulmonary syndrome; HR, heart rate; HRS, hepatorenal syndrome; HVPG, hepatic venous pressure gradient; HfmrEF, heart failure with mid-range ejection fraction; HfrEF, heart failure with reduced ejection fraction; IVC, Inferior Vena Cava; IVCD, IVC Diameter; IVS, intravascular volume status; L-NAME, NG-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester; LA, left atrium; LAVI, LA volume index; LGE, late gadolinium enhancement; LT, liver transplant; LV, left ventricle; LVDD, left ventricular diastolic dysfunction; LVEDP, left ventricular end-diastolic pressure; LVEDV, LV end diastolic volume; LVEF, left ventricular ejection fraction; LVESV, LV end systolic volume; LVOT, left ventricular outflow tract; MAP, mean arterial pressure; MELD, Model for End-Stage Liver Disease; MR, mitral regurgitation; MRI, Magnetic resonance imaging; MV, mitral valve; NAFLD, Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease; NO, nitric oxide; NOS, Nitric oxide synthases; NTProBNP, N-terminal proBNP; PAP, pulmonary artery pressure; PCWP, pulmonary capillary wedged pressure; PHT, portal hypertension; PWD, Pulsed-wave Doppler; RV, right ventricle; RVOT, right ventricular outflow tract; SA, sinoatrial; SD, standard deviation; SV, stroke volume; SVR, Systemic vascular resistance; TDI, tissue Doppler imaging; TIPS, transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt; TR, Tricuspid valve; TRPV1, transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V member 1; TTE, transthoracic echocardiography; USG, ultrasonography; VTI, velocity time integral; beta blocker; cirrhotic cardiomyopathy; hemodynamics in cirrhosis; left ventricular diastolic dysfunction.