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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


A 45-Year-Old Undiagnosed Cirrhotic Patient with Hepatopulmonary Syndrome as First Presentation: A Case Report

Unusual clinical course, Challenging differential diagnosis

Chetan Dhoble, Neelima Saoji, Jitesh Jeswani, Rosa Rios

India Department of Internal Medicine, N.K.P. Salve Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Center, Nagpur, India

Am J Case Rep 2015; 16:751-755

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.895151

Available online:

Published: 2015-10-22


BACKGROUND: Hepatopulmonary syndrome (HPS) is a pulmonary complication characterized by a triad of chronic liver disease, arterial hypoxemia, and pulmonary vascular dilations. Agitated saline contrast echocardiography is a simple inexpensive criterion standard procedure for confirming the diagnosis of HPS.
CASE REPORT: Here, we discuss a case of a 45-year-old male Indian patient with no medical history who presented to our hospital with exertional dyspnea, hypoxia, and classical signs of HPS. A diagnosis of cirrhosis was made on the basis of history, liver enzymes, and ultrasound, while HPS was diagnosed using transthoracic echocardiography with agitated saline.
CONCLUSIONS: HPS, although a complication of cirrhosis, can be the initial presentation in undiagnosed cirrhotic patients. Thus, it is important to include HPS in differentials when dealing with cases of progressive dyspnea. Also, the possibility of a liver disease etiology should be explored in patients with unexplained hypoxemia.

Keywords: Diagnostic Errors, Diagnosis, Differential, Hepatopulmonary Syndrome - diagnosis, Liver Cirrhosis - etiology