Treatment of hepatopulmonary syndrome with Allium sativum L. (garlic): a pilot trial

J Clin Gastroenterol. 1998 Oct;27(3):232-5. doi: 10.1097/00004836-199810000-00010.


No medical therapy exists for subjects with hepatopulmonary syndrome (HPS). A patient with HPS was reported to have improvement in arterial oxygenation while self-administering garlic. Our goal was to determine whether a standardized garlic powder improves arterial oxygenation and dyspnea in subjects with HPS. A prospective, open label uncontrolled pilot study in 15 subjects with HPS were administered garlic powder capsules daily for a minimum of 6 months. Arterial blood gases were determined every 4-8 weeks, in the same position on room air, and a subjective dyspnea transition index was reported. Six of 15 subjects (40%, confidence interval: 0.15-65) had at least a 10 mmHg increase in the P(O2) or decrease in the alveolar-arterial gradient. The mean pre- and postarterial difference in these patients were: P(O2) (14+/-4 mmHg) and alveolar-arterial gradient (18+/-5 mmHg). All 6 subjects who responded to garlic had less dyspnea on exertion. Garlic improved arterial oxygenation in younger subjects (mean 40 versus 56 years old; p = 0.021) or those with lower macroaggregated albumin shunt fractions (mean 21 versus 44%, p = 0.058). Garlic may improve arterial oxygenation and symptoms in patients with hepatopulmonary syndrome and warrants further investigation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Capsules
  • Dyspepsia / therapy
  • Dyspnea / therapy
  • Female
  • Garlic*
  • Hepatopulmonary Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Hepatopulmonary Syndrome / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Pilot Projects
  • Plants, Medicinal*
  • Powders
  • Prospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Capsules
  • Powders
  • Oxygen