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Korean J Hepatol. 2007 Mar;13(1):20-26. Korean. Review.
Kim MY , Baik SK .
Department of Internal Medicine, Yonsei University Wonju College of Medicine, Wonju, Korea.

Most patients with liver cirrhosis have hyperdynamic circulatory alterations with increased cardiac output, and decreased systemic vascular resistance and arterial pressure. But, in spite of the increased resting cardiac output, ventricular contractile response to stressful stimuli is attenuated in cirrhotic patients which is termed as cirrhotic cardiomyopathy. The prevalence of cirrhotic cardiomyopathy remains unknown at present. Clinical features include structural, histological, electrophysiological, systolic and diastolic dysfunction. Multiple factors are considered as responsible, including impaired beta-adrenergic receptor signal transduction, abnormal membrane biophysical characteristics, and increased activity of cardiodepressant systems mediated by cGMP. Generally, cirrhotic cardiomyopathy with overt severe heart failure is rare. However, major stresses on the cardiovascular system such as liver transplantation, infections and insertion of transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunts (TIPS) can unmask the presence of cirrhotic cardiomyopathy and thereby convert latent to overt heart failure. Cirrhotic cardiomyopathy may also contribute to the pathogenesis of hepatorenal syndrome and circulatory failure in liver cirrhosis. Because of the marked paucity of treatment studies, current recommendations for management are empirical, nonspecific measures. Further studies for pathogenesis and new therapeutic strategies in this area are required.

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