Impact of hepatopulmonary syndrome in liver transplantation candidates and the role of angiogenesis

Pulmonary Vascular Complications of Liver Disease Study Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Hepatopulmonary syndrome affects 10-30% of patients with cirrhosis and portal hypertension. We evaluated the serum angiogenic profile of hepatopulmonary syndrome and assessed the clinical impact of hepatopulmonary syndrome in patients evaluated for liver transplantation. METHODS: The Pulmonary Vascular Complications of Liver Disease 2 study was a multicentre, prospective cohort study of adults undergoing their first liver transplantation evaluation. Hepatopulmonary syndrome was defined as an alveolar-arterial oxygen gradient ≥15 mmHg (≥20 mmHg if age >64 years), positive contrast-enhanced transthoracic echocardiography and absence of lung disease. RESULTS: We included 85 patients with hepatopulmonary syndrome and 146 patients without hepatopulmonary syndrome. Patients with hepatopulmonary syndrome had more complications of portal hypertension and slightly higher Model for End-Stage Liver Disease-Na score compared to those without hepatopulmonary syndrome (median (interquartile range) 15 (12-19) versus 14 (10-17), p=0.006). Hepatopulmonary syndrome patients had significantly lower 6-min walk distance and worse functional class. Hepatopulmonary syndrome patients had higher circulating angiopoietin 2, Tie2, tenascin C, tyrosine protein kinase Kit (c-Kit), vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 and von Willebrand factor levels, and lower E-selectin levels. Patients with hepatopulmonary syndrome had an increased risk of death (hazard ratio 1.80, 95% CI 1.03-3.16, p=0.04), which persisted despite adjustment for covariates (hazard ratio 1.79, 95% CI 1.02-3.15, p=0.04). This association did not vary based on levels of oxygenation, reflecting the severity of hepatopulmonary syndrome. CONCLUSION: Hepatopulmonary syndrome was associated with a profile of abnormal systemic angiogenesis, worse exercise and functional capacity, and an overall increased risk of death.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalEuropean Respiratory Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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