Pulmonary complications are common in patients with liver cirrhosis. Devolopment of pulmonary hypertension (PH) is associated with a poor prognosis in these patients. Pulmonary arterial stiffness (PAS) is considered an early sign of pulmonary vascular remodeling. The aim of this study is to investigate PAS and compare it with right ventricular (RV) functions in patients with cirrhosis who are scheduled for liver transplantation.
The study included 52 cirrhosis patients (mean age 51.01 ± 12.18 years, male gender 76.9%) who were prepared for liver transplantation and 59 age and sex matched (mean age 51.28 ± 13.63 years, male gender 62.7%) healthy individuals. Patients with left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) less than 55%, ischemic heart disease, more than mild valvular heart disease, chronic pulmonary disease, congenital heart disease, rheumatic disease, moderate to high echocardiographic PH probability, rhythm or conduction disorders on electrocardiography were excluded from the study. In addition to conventional echocardiographic parameters, PAS value, pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR) and RV ejection efficiency was calculated by the related formulas with transthoracic echocardiography (TTE).
Demographic characteristics and cardiovascular risk factors of the groups were similar. PAS, PVR, and sPAP values were found to be significantly higher in the patient group (20.52 ± 6.52 and 13.73 ± 2.05; 1.43 ± 0.15 and 1.27 ± 0.14; 27.69 ± 3.91 and 23.37 ± 3.81 p < 0.001, respectively). RV FAC and RV Ee were significantly lower and RV MPI was significantly higher in the patient group (45.31 ± 3.85 and 49.66 ± 3.62, p < 0.001; 1.69 ± 0.35 and 1.85 ± 0.23, p = 0.005; 0.39 ± 0.07 and 0.33 ± 0.09, p = 0.001, respectively). PAS was significantly correlated with RV FAC and MPI (r = -0.423, p < 0.001; r = 0.301, p = 0.001, respectively).
Increased PAS in cirrhosis patients may be associated with early pulmonary vascular involvement. Evaluation of RV functions is important to determine the prognosis in these patients. FAC, MPI, and RV Ee measurements instead of TAPSE or RV S’ may be more useful in demonstrating subclinical dysfunction. The correlation of PAS with RV FAC and MPI may indicate that RV subclinical dysfunction is associated with early pulmonary vascular remodeling in patients with liver cirrhosis.

© 2022 Wiley Periodicals LLC.