Hepatic involvement in hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia: clinical, radiological, and hemodynamic studies of 11 cases

Gastroenterology. 1993 Aug;105(2):482-7. doi: 10.1016/0016-5085(93)90723-p.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Angiography
  • Female
  • Hemodynamics*
  • Humans
  • Liver / diagnostic imaging*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Telangiectasia, Hereditary Hemorrhagic / diagnosis*
  • Telangiectasia, Hereditary Hemorrhagic / diagnostic imaging
  • Telangiectasia, Hereditary Hemorrhagic / physiopathology*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Ultrasonography