Diagnosis, treatment and survival of patients with hepatorenal syndrome: A survey on daily medical practice

Francesco Salerno, Massimo Cazzaniga, Manuela Merli, Giancarlo Spinzi, Simone Saibeni, Andrea Salmi, Stefano Fagiuoli, Antonio Spadaccini, Elisa Trotta, Giacomo Laffi, Maurizio Koch, Oliviero Riggio, Sergio Boccia, Martina Felder, Simona Balzani, Savino Bruno, Paolo Angeli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background & Aims: Hepatorenal syndrome (HRS) is a severe complication of cirrhosis with ascites. The International Ascites Club recommended strict diagnostic criteria and treatment with vasoconstrictors and albumin. Aim of this prospective cohort study was to investigate the prevalence of HRS, diagnostic criteria, treatment and 3-month outcome in the daily-clinical-practice. Methods: Two-hundred-fifty-three patients with cirrhosis and renal failure consecutively admitted to 21 Italian hospitals were recruited. Results: The prevalence of HRS was 45.8% (30% type-1 and 15.8% type-2). In 36% of cases HRS was presumed because not all diagnostic criteria could be fulfilled. In 8% of cases HRS was superimposed on an organic nephropathy. Patients with HRS type-1 were younger and showed higher leukocyte count, higher respiratory rates, and worse liver function scores. Sixty-four patients with HRS type-1 received vasoconstrictors (40 terlipressin and 24 midodrine/octreotide). A complete response was obtained in 19 cases (30%) and a partial response in 13 (20%). Age was the only independent predictor of response (p = 0.033). Three-month survival of patients with HRS type-1 was 19.7%. Survival was better in patients who responded to therapy. Age (p = 0.017), bilirubin (p = 0.012), and creatinine increase after diagnostic volume expansion (p = 0.02) independently predicted death. The mortality rate was 97% among patients with at least two negative predictors. Conclusions: The diagnostic criteria of HRS in our daily-clinical-practice could not be completely fulfilled in one third of cases. The treatment with vasoconstrictors and albumin was widely implemented. Mortality was strongly predicted by simple baseline variables.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1241-1248
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Hepatology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


  • Ascites
  • Kidney
  • Midodrine
  • Portal hypertension
  • Terlipressin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology


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