Hepatorenal syndrome. Studies of the effect of vascular volume and intraperitoneal pressure on renal and hepatic function

Am J Med. 1987 Mar;82(3):427-38. doi: 10.1016/0002-9343(87)90442-6.


Eleven patients with well-documented hepatorenal syndrome were studied by measurement of blood volume, glomerular filtration rate, renal plasma flow, plasma aldosterone concentration, renin substrate concentration, and plasma renin activity. They were then given 750 ml of stored plasma, 750 ml of fresh frozen plasma, and then an infusion of angiotensin II, in random order on successive days. Infusion of fresh frozen plasma improved function more than did stored plasma and in addition returned a very low filtration fraction toward normal. Angiotensin II infusion increased filtration fraction, but decreased glomerular filtration rate, renal plasma flow, and urine flow sharply. Patients were then given a daily infusion of 1,000 ml of fresh frozen plasma for seven to 18 days to expand the blood volume to supranormal levels as assayed by serial measurement of blood volume. Plasma aldosterone levels decreased to a normal range, glomerular filtration rate and renal plasma flow both increased, and urinary excretion of sodium and potassium both returned toward normal. The effect of intraperitoneal pressure was then studied by measuring glomerular filtration rate, renal plasma flow, pressure in the vena cava, hepatic vein free flow, and hepatic vein wedged pressure before, during, and after paracentesis to reduce the intraperitoneal pressure from 30 to 40 cm H2O to 12 to 17 cm H2O. Venous pressures moved parallel to ascitic fluid pressures, and glomerular filtration rate, renal plasma flow, and urine flow all improved sharply; then, as ascitic fluid continued to form, reducing vascular volume, urine flow, glomerular filtration rate, and renal plasma flow all decreased slowly. Six patients then underwent placement of a LeVeen shunt. Improvement in glomerular filtration rate and renal plasma flow and clinical condition was dramatic. During postoperative observation of up to two years, progressive improvement in hepatic function has occurred.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Angiotensin II / therapeutic use
  • Ascites / physiopathology
  • Blood Transfusion
  • Blood Volume*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Hepatorenal Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Hepatorenal Syndrome / therapy
  • Humans
  • Kidney / physiopathology*
  • Kidney Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Liver / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Peritoneal Cavity / physiopathology*
  • Peritoneovenous Shunt
  • Plasma
  • Pressure
  • Renin / blood
  • Time Factors


  • Angiotensin II
  • Renin