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Prevalence of portopulmonary hypertension among liver transplant candidates in a region highly endemic for viral hepatitis

Abdullah Al-Harbi, Khalid Abdullah, Abdulmajeed Al-Abdulkareem, Ali Alghamdi, Hamdan AL-Jahdali

(Department of Medicine, Pulmonary Division, King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)

Ann Transplant 2014; 19:1-5

DOI: 10.12659/AOT.889645


Background: Portopulmonary hypertension (POPH) is rarely encountered in the setting of end-stage liver disease (ESLD) and, if severe, may preclude patients from undergoing liver transplantation. The aim of the present study was to determine the prevalence of POPH in the setting of ESLD for patients who were referred to King Abdulaziz Medical City-Riyadh (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia) for assessment for liver transplantation.
Material and Methods: The medical records of all patients evaluated for liver transplantation between 1993 and 2009 were retrospectively reviewed. Pulmonary hypertension (PH) was defined as an echocardiographically estimated right ventricular systolic pressure ≥40 mmHg and a mean pulmonary arterial pressure >25 mmHg measured using right heart catheterization.
Results: A total of 542 consecutive subjects with ESLD who underwent assessment for liver transplantation were identified; however, medical records for 18 were missing. The final cohort, therefore, consisted of 524 subjects with a mean (±SD) age of 49±13.9 years, 60% were male, and 70% had viral hepatitis. PH was detected by echocardiography in 64 (12%) of the 524 subjects. Hemodynamic data obtained from intraoperative right heart catheterization or as part of the pre-transplantation evaluation were available for 248 subjects, including 57 of the 64 who had echocardiographically defined PH. PH was confirmed in 30 subjects and ruled out in 27, and only 4 (0.76%) subjects fulfilled the criteria for POPH.
Conclusions: The prevalence of POPH determined in the present study was lower than previously reported. Further prospective research is needed to confirm this finding and to explore possible clinical, genetic, and environmental factors that contribute to the low prevalence of POPH in regions highly endemic for viral hepatitis.

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