Objective: To determine underlying conditions in patients undergoing both heart and liver biopsies. Patients and Methods: Our study group consisted of 32 patients at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn, who underwent both endomyocardial and nonsurgical liver biopsies and who underwent at least one of these procedures between January 1, 1981, and December 31, 2000. Patients were categorized as having (1) heart disease affecting the liver, (2) liver disease affecting the heart, (3) the same disease affecting both organs, or (4) different diseases affecting each organ independently. Results: Among 32 patients, cardiac dysfunction was present in 28 (19 systolic, 9 diastolic), and hepatic dysfunction was present in 31. In group 1, 3 of 4 patients had cardiac amyloidosis with secondary hepatic congestion. In group 2, all 3 patients had cirrhosis with cirrhotic cardiomyopathy. Group 3 included 5 patients with hemochromatosis, 3 with alcoholism, and 1 with amyloidosis. In group 4, 8 of 16 patients had idiopathic cardiomyopathy, and 8 had hepatitis. Overall, of 8 patients with hemochromatosis, 3 without cardiac iron had improved cardiac function after phlebotomy, and 1 with cardiac iron had no cardiac dysfunction. Among 7 patients with alcoholism, 3 had alcoholic liver and heart disease. Of 5 patients with cardiac amyloidosis, 1 had hepatic amyloid. Ten patients underwent transplantation (6 liver, 3 heart, and 1 heart and liver). Conclusions: In one half of the patients in the study group, heart and liver diseases had independent causes. In patients with hemochromatosis, there was little correlation between cardiac iron and systolic dysfunction. In patients with chronic alcoholism, liver and heart disorders often had nonalcoholic causes. With cardiac amyloidosis, hepatic dysfunction was generally due to congestion. Specific disease in one organ did not necessarily imply similar involvement in the other. Thus, heart or liver biopsy may be useful in patients being evaluated for liver or heart transplantation, respectively.
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