Hepatopulmonary syndrome: A review of the literature

G. Ghittoni, G. Valentini, C. Spada, Z. Rossi, G. Gasbarrini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The majority of cirrhotic patients present dyspnea, but most of the time this is a consequence of ascites, hepatic hydrothorax or cardiopulmonary disease. Very few of these patients undergo the hepatopulmonary syndrome, an infrequent complication of chronic liver disease, especially when associated with portal hypertension and cirrhosis. Hepatopulmonary syndrome is characterised by dyspnea and, consequently, arterial hypoxemia, due to intrapulmonary vasodilation and shunting. The real pathogenesis of this vasodilation is still unknown, although many hypotheses have been suggested. Furthermore, no medical therapy appears to be really useful in the treatment of hepatopulmonary syndrome. At the present time, the only treatment that is efficacious for the resolution, or for the improvement of blood gas oxygenation abnormalities, is orthotopic liver transplantation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-98
Number of pages4
JournalPanminerva Medica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2003


  • Diagnosis
  • Hepatopulmonary syndrome
  • Hepatopulmonary syndrome, therapy
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Liver diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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