Role of baseline echocardiography in the preoperative management of liver transplant candidates

Matthew E. Harinstein*, Sunil Iyer, Michael A. Mathier, James D. Flaherty, Paulo Fontes, Raymond M. Planinsic, Kathy Edelman, William E. Katz, Angel Lopez-Candales

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Liver transplantation (LT) has not traditionally been offered to patients with intracardiac shunts (ICSs) or pulmonary hypertension (PH). There is a paucity of data regarding cardiac structural characteristics in LT candidates. We examined echocardiographic characteristics and their role in managing LT candidates diagnosed with ICS and PH. We identified 502 consecutive patients (318 men, mean age 55 ± 11 years) who underwent LT and had preoperative echocardiogram. Demographics, cardiovascular risk factors, and echocardiographic variables were recorded and data were analyzed for end-stage liver disease diagnosis. ICSs were diagnosed with contrast echocardiography and PH was defined as estimated pulmonary artery systolic pressure >40 mm Hg. Primary end points included short-term (30-day) and long-term (mean 41-month) mortalities and the correlation between pre- and perioperative stroke. In our studied population >50% had >2 cardiovascular risk factors and with increasing frequency ICSs were diagnosed in 16%, PH in 25%, and intrapulmonary shunts in 41% of LT candidates. There was no correlation between short- and long-term mortality and ICS (p = 0.71 and 0.76, respectively) or PH (p = 0.79 and 0.71). Importantly, in those with ICS, no strokes occurred. In conclusion, structural differences exist between various end-stage liver disease diagnoses. ICSs diagnosed by echocardiography are not associated with an increased risk of perioperative stroke or increased mortality. A diagnosis of mild or moderate PH on baseline echocardiogram is not associated with worse outcomes and requires further assessment. Based on these findings, patients should not be excluded from consideration for LT based solely on the presence of an ICS or PH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1852-1855
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Cardiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 15 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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