BACKGROUND: Data regarding cardiac remodeling in patients with alcoholic liver cirrhosis are scarce. We sought to investigate right atrial (RA) and right ventricular (RV) structure, function, and mechanics in patients with alcoholic liver cirrhosis.
METHODS: This retrospective cross-sectional investigation included 67 end-stage cirrhotic patients, who were referred for evaluation for liver transplantation and 36 healthy controls. All participants underwent echocardiographic examination including strain analysis, which was performed offline.
RESULTS: RV basal diameter and RV thickness were significantly higher in patients with cirrhosis. Conventional parameters of the RV systolic function were similar between the observed groups. Global, endocardial, and epicardial RV longitudinal strains were significantly lower in patients with cirrhosis. Active RA function was significantly higher in cirrhotic patients than in controls. The RA reservoir and conduit strains were significantly lower in cirrhotic patients, while there was no difference in the RA contractile strain. Early diastolic and systolic RA strain rates were significantly lower in cirrhotic patients than in controls, whereas there was no difference in the RA late diastolic strain rate between the two groups. Transaminases and bilirubin correlated negatively with RV global longitudinal strain and RV-free wall strain in patients with end-stage liver cirrhosis. The Model for End-stage Liver Disease (MELD) score, predictor of 3-month mortality, correlated with parameters of RV structure and systolic function, and RA active function in patients with end-stage liver cirrhosis.
CONCLUSIONS: RA and RV remodeling is present in patients with end-stage liver cirrhosis even though RV systolic function is preserved. Liver enzymes, bilirubin, and the MELD score correlated with RV and RA remodeling.