Ascites is the most common complication in patients with cirrhosis. It can lead to several life-threatening complications resulting in a poor long-term survival outcome. Ascites is due to the loss of compensatory mechanism to maintain effective arterial blood volume secondary to splanchnic arterial vasodilatation in the progression of liver disease and portal hypertension. Refractory ascites, spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP), hyponatremia, and hepatorenal syndrome (HRS) are complications that can occur with ascites, all of them leading to a worse quality of life and short-term mortality. When complication appears, liver transplantation as a definitive and curative treatment should be considered. Other common therapeutical approaches to control ascites such as diet, sodium restriction, or the use of diuretics are needed to avoid these complications, although some patients will require further treatments when ascites becomes refractory to standard treatment. This chapter will review the complex treatment of ascites, and its related complications.
Part of the book: Ascites
Liver disease resulting from heart disease has generally been referred as “cardiac hepatopathy.” The two main forms of cardiac hepatopathy are acute cardiogenic liver injury (ACLI) and congestive hepatopathy (CH). ACLI most commonly occurs in the setting of acute cardiocirculatory failure, whereas CH results from passive venous congestion in the setting of chronic right-sided heart failure (HF). Both conditions often coexist and potentiate the deleterious effects of each other on the liver. In CH, the chronic passive congestion leads to sinusoidal hypertension, centrilobular fibrosis, and ultimately, cirrhosis (“cardiac cirrhosis”) and hepatocellular carcinoma. The differentiation between congestion and fibrosis currently represents an unmet need and a growing research area. Although cardiac cirrhosis may only arise after several decades of ongoing injury, the long-term survival of cardiac patients due to advances in medical and surgical treatments is responsible for the increased number of liver complications in this setting. Eventually, the liver disease could become as clinically relevant as the cardiac disease and further complicate its management.
Part of the book: Liver Pathology