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Inhaled nitric oxide improves the hepatopulmonary syndrome: a physiologic analysis


The hepatopulmonary syndrome (HPS) is defined by liver dysfunction, intrapulmonary vasodilatation and abnormal oxygenation. Hypoxaemia is progressive and liver transplant is the only effective treatment. Severe hypoxaemia is a life-threatening HPS complication, particularly after transplant. We evaluated gas-exchange and haemodynamic effects of invasive therapies in a consecutive sample of 26 pre-transplant patients. Inhaled nitric oxide significantly improved partial pressure of oxygen (12.4 mm Hg; p=0.001) without deleterious effects on cardiac output. Trendelenburg positioning resulted in a small improvement, and methylene blue did not, though individual responses were variable. Future studies should prospectively evaluate these strategies in severe post-transplant hypoxaemia.

  • critical care
  • lung physiology
  • rare lung diseases

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