Abnormal Gas Diffusing Capacity and Portosystemic Shunt in Patients With Chronic Liver Disease

Moon-Seung Park, Min-Ho Lee, Yoo-Sin Park, Shin-Hee Kim, Min-Jung Kwak, Ju-Seop Kang


Background: Pulmonary dysfunctions including the hepatopulmonary syndrome and portosystemic shunt are important complications of hepatic cirrhosis. To investigate the severity and nature of abnormal gas diffusing capacity and its correlation to portosystemic shunt in patients with chronic liver disease.

Methods: Forty-four patients with chronic liver disease (15 chronic active hepatitis (CAH), 16 Child-Pugh class A, and 13 Child-Pugh class B) without other diseases history were enrolled in the study. Evaluation of liver function tests, arterial blood gases analysis, ultrasonography, pulmonary function test including lung diffusing capacity of carbon monoxide (DLco), forced vital capacity(FVC), forced expiratory volume 1 seconds(FEV1), total lung capacity(TLC), DLco/AV(alveolar volume) and thallium-201 per rectum scintigraphy were performed. We were analyzed correlations between pulmonary function abnormalities and heart/liver (H/L) ratio in patients with chronic liver diseases.

Results: In CAH, percentage of patients with DLco and DLco/VA (< 80%) was 22.2 % but it was significantly increased to 47.2-54.5% in Child-Pugh class A and B patients. The means of DLco and DLco/VA were significantly (P < 0.05) decreased in Child-Pugh class. The mean H/L ratio in Child-Pugh class B increased markedly (P < 0.01) than those with CAH and Child-Pugh class A. The frequency of specific pulmonary function abnormality in patients with Child-Pugh class B was significantly (P < 0.01) greater than those with Child-Pugh class A and CAH. There was a inverse linear correlation between H/L ratio and DLco (r = -0.339, P < 0.05) and DLco/VA (r = -0.480, P < 0.01).

Conclusion: A total of 62% of patients with advanced liver disease have abnormal pulmonary diffusion capacity with a reduced DLco or DLco/VA and abnormal portosystemic shunt (increased H/L ratio) is common hemodynamic abnormality. Therefore, inverse linear correlation between DLco or DLco/VA and H/L ratio may be an important factor in predicting pulmonary complication and meaningful diagnostic and prognostic parameters in patients with advanced chronic liver disease.

Gastroenterol Res. 2012;5(5):182-189
doi: https://doi.org/10.4021/gr475e


Pulmonary diffusion capacity; Portosystemic shunt (H/L ratio); DLco; DLco/VA; CAH; Child-Pugh class

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