Continuous intravenous infusion of epoprostenol for the treatment of portopulmonary hypertension

Transplantation. 1997 Feb 27;63(4):604-6. doi: 10.1097/00007890-199702270-00020.


The association of pulmonary hypertension with portal hypertension, also called portopulmonary hypertension (PPHTN), is a known complication of chronic liver disease. Previously, the presence of PPHTN was considered to be a contraindication to orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT). Although there are selected case reports of successful OLT in the setting of PPHTN, an excessive mortality rate is associated with OLT and PPHTN. Heretofore, therapy for chronic management of PPHTN was lacking. Recently, continuous intravenous infusion of epoprostenol has been demonstrated to improve symptomatology and survival in the general population of patients with primary pulmonary hypertension. We now report the use of epoprostenol in the more specific instance of PPHTN. Over a period of 6-14 months, epoprostenol (10-28 ng/kg/min) therapy was associated with a 29-46% decrease in mean pulmonary artery pressure, a 22-71% decrease in pulmonary vascular resistance, and a 25-75% increase in cardiac output in a group of four patients. These results suggest that effective chronic therapy for PPHTN is available. In conjunction with inhaled nitric oxide as acute intraoperative therapy, epoprostenol infusion represents an additional therapeutic option for treatment of PPHTN in the liver transplant candidate.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antihypertensive Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Epoprostenol / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Portal / drug therapy*
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / drug therapy*
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Liver Transplantation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged


  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Epoprostenol