Background: Hepatic involvement in hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT) is infrequent and poorly studied. The aim of this study was to describe the clinical, radiological, and hemodynamic patterns of this involvement.
Methods: Eleven consecutive patients with HHT and hepatic involvement observed within 12 years were retrospectively studied. They were 8 females and 3 males, mean age, 47.
Results: The patients presented with heart failure (4 cases), hepatomegaly and murmur of the right hypochondrium (7 cases), and digestive hemorrhage (6 cases). Eight patients had anicteric cholestasis. Celiac angiography showed a dilated hepatic artery in 8 cases, disseminated intrahepatic telangiectasias in 10, and early opacification of the hepatic veins in 7. Liver dynamic computed tomography (CT) scan performed in 7 patients allowed the diagnosis of liver involvement in each case. Hemodynamic studies were performed in 5 patients. A left-to-right intrahepatic shunt was proven in the 5 patients. Shunt output was estimated between 25% and 58% of cardiac output. Mild pulmonary hypertension was observed in the 5 cases.
Conclusions: Diagnosis of liver involvement in HHT can be made by dynamic CT scan or celiac angiography. The main feature of this involvement is high output heart failure due to left-to-right intrahepatic shunt. Thus, right-heart catheterization is necessary in these patients to confirm and evaluate the shunt.