The effect of octreotide, a long-acting synthetic analog of somatostatin, on fasting and postprandial splanchnic hemodynamics was investigated in cirrhotic patients. Splanchnic hemodynamics were assessed using an echo-Doppler duplex system in a prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study performed on 2 separate days, 1 week apart, in 30 cirrhotic patients. Measurements of portal vein (PV) cross-sectional area (PVA) and mean velocity (PV-V), and of superior mesenteric artery (SMA) mean velocity (SMA-V) and pulsatility index (SMA-PI) (an index of vascular resistance) were performed at baseline, 30 minutes after octreotide (200 μg subcutaneously) or placebo administration, and 30 and 60 minutes after the ingestion of a liquid meal. In the fasted state, octreotide induced a significant decrease in PV-V (-7%) and in SMA-V (-10%) and an increase in PI (+16%). On the day of placebo administration, meal ingestion induced a significant increase in PV-V (+21%) and in SMA-V (+43%) and a decrease in PI (-21%). In contrast, meal ingestion on octreotide day induced significantly smaller increases in PV-V (+10%) and in SMAV (+18%) and a significantly smaller decrease in PI (-10%). Octreotide, although producing a mild reduction in PV-V and SMA-V in the fasted state, markedly blunts postprandial splanchnic hyperemia in cirrhotic patients.
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