File name .JPG
File alt. text
Image should be px wide x px tall.
Select Image
home - Liver - Liver Failure - Hepatorenal Syndrome Written by Dr Sebastian Zeki

Assesses the severity of liver dysfunction and its prognostic
significance following haemorrhage

Knows importance of correcting hypovolaemia preventing
complications of GI bleeding and deterioration of liver function and
stopping bleeding

Knows the potential use of blood & clotting factors the role of
antibiotics the use of vasoconstrictors therapeutic endoscopy the
indication for transjugular intra-hepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) or
surgical shunt surgery

Aware of the specific complications of bleeding in cirrhotic patients –
including hepatic encephalopathy need for airway protection
nutrition identification of alcohol withdrawal

Shows proficiency in endoscopy – including emergency endoscopic
techniques of variceal band ligation endoscopic sclerotherapy
injection of cyanoacrylate glues for gastric varices

Can place safely and manage a Sengstaken tube in refractory
variceal bleeding

Can prevent and treat complications including hepatorenal failure
ascites spontaneous bacterial peritonitis and hepatic encephalopathy

Appreciates criteria for referral to specialist centre when appropriate –
such as with bleeding gastric or ectopic varices or consideration of

Appreciates need to treat patients using a multi–disciplinary approach
Shows understanding of an empathic approach which may involve


Knows risks and prognosis of recurrent variceal bleeding in cirrhotic

Aware of role of secondary prophylaxis with either non–selective ?-
blockers endoscopic ligation or both

Can select suitable endoscopic therapy and perform the appropriate
procedure competently

Appreciates the potential role of other specialists e g interventional
radiologists and nurse specialists



Understands the mechanisms of biliary metabolism the various
abnormalities that lead to hyperbilirubinaemia and knows and
recognises the causes of the various forms of jaundice

Selects and interprets appropriate investigations and formulate
management plans

Approaches patients presenting with jaundice in a logical and
methodical manner


Can define the different types (I and II) of hepatorenal

Knows the differential diagnosis of different types of renal
failure/impairment in liver disease

Understands the major and minor criteria in diagnosis of HRS and be
able to differentiate between HRS and acute kidney injury

Appreciates the prognostic significance of renal impairment in
patients with chronic liver disease

Knows the options for management and treatment of HRS the role of
colloids and vasoconstrictors as well as renal supportive treatment by

Uses and interprets result of sometimes complex investigations

Can judge when to involve other specialists especially nephrologists
radiologists and intensivists



Understands the pathogenesis of hepatic encephalopathy (HE)
Knows the differential diagnosis of HE including the existence of risk
factors for its causation including metabolic disorders and intracranial
structural disorders (such as subdural haematomas)

Knows factors that may precipitate HE including bleeding electrolyte
disturbance drugs or other organ failure

Knows the various treatment options appropriate for grade of severity

Can grade the mental state (Glasgow coma score and West Haven

Shows ability to differentiate between acute and acute on chronic liver

Can identify the patient at risk of raised intracranial pressure and
cerebral oedema

Selects and use investigations appropriately and determine timing of
airway protection

Appreciates the role of other specialists and interacts in a
professional manner with intensivists neurologists
neurophysiologists radiologists and other specialists

Makes referral where appropriate to specialist centre for liver



Understands the causes of acute hepatitis including viral druginduced alcohol-induced and auto-immune liver disease

Knows the appropriate plan of investigation and management of
specific diseases including the role of serological investigations and
liver biopsy

Takes an accurate history from patients with acute liver disease and
performs detailed clinical examination

Utilises investigation in a structured manner
Considers all therapeutic modalities and preparedness to refer to
specialist centre where diagnosis remains in doubt or appropriate
management cannot be performed


Methods GMP
Recognises and knows how to diagnose acute and chronic drug
induced liver injury and dysfunction
SCE 1,2
Aware of methods of diagnosis, role of liver biopsy and therapy
including role of steroids in treatment in selected cases
SCE, CbD 1
Understands the role of both prescription and recreational drugs and
the aetiology of a wide variety of liver disease and dysfunction often
requiring prompt intervention or involvement of specialist services
SCE, CbD 1,2,3
Has awareness of the range of iatrogenic liver dysfunction SCE, CbD 1,2,3
Able to interact with specialist pharmacy services. Can use yellow
card reporting system of potential adverse effects of drugs.



Understands the causes and pathophysiology of acute liver failure
Can plan appropriate investigation evaluate prognosis and construct
a detailed management plan

Identifies those potentially suitable for emergency liver transplantation
Develops ability to make accurate evaluation of patients with liver
failure at the stage of initial presentation

Can deliver management plan appropriately evaluate changes in
patient’s condition and react accordingly

Utilises the range of medical interventions necessary to support
critically ill patients

Demonstrates ability to identify patients at risk of developing acute
liver failure and understand the criteria for referral to specialist centres

Works collaboratively with nurses and all ITU staff as well as
colleagues in other clinical disciplines to deliver the highest standard
of clinical care

Communicates effectively and relates with empathy to family and
close friends of patients

Hepatorenal Syndrome

Cirrhosis Splanchnic arterial vasodilatation Arterial underfilling Stimulation of systemic vasoconstrictors Renal vasoconstriction Late stages of cirrhosis Early stage of cirrhosis Hepatorenal syndrome Decrease in local vasodilators with increase of local vasoconstrictors Preserved renal function Increased systemic and local vasodilators Portal hypertension Decreased systemic vascular resistance Written by Dr Sebastian Zeki FE Na+= fractional excretion of Na+ DialysisEarly OLT Poor prognosis No Yes OLT candidate Evaluate for OLT No Yes Improved renal function IV volume challengeLarge volume paracentesis Prompt diuresis CVP lowVolume challenge Prerenal CVP Normal Acute glomerulonephritis HRS <1% Urinary obstrsuction ATN >1% FE NA+ Cirrhosis liverOliguriaElevated creatinine Other agents — Treatments for HRS: Fluid replacement. Terlipressin (0.5 mg bd) plus HAS (1 g/kg of 4.5%). No role for haemodialysis and filtration. Hepatorenal syndrome Pathogenesis Types of HRSType I hepatorenal syndrome is the more serious type.Type 1 is defined as at least a 50 % dec of creatinine clearance to < 20 mL/min in <2/52 or x2 increase in serum creatinine to>2.5 mg/dL (221 µmol/L).Type II hepatorenal syndrome is defined as less severe renal insufficiency than that observed with type I disease; it is principally characterized by ascites that is resistant to diuretics. Prevention of HRSHRS usually occurs in alc hep or SBP.In SBP iv albumin (1.5 g/kg) at day 0 and day 1 of antibiotic treatment may reduce the incidence of both renal impairment that does not reverse during hospitalization and mortality during hospi-talization and at 3 months.Prophylactic cipro also reduces SBP and hepatorenal syndrome in cirrhotic patients with ascites. HRS TreatmentMidodrine (alpha-1 adrenergic agonist) and octreotide (a somatostatin analog) may be highly beneficial; octreotide alone is not beneficial.Terlipressin significantly lowers mortality rates and increases creat clearance.Terlipressin is normally given with albumin.MisoprostolRenal vasodilation using high dose prostaglandin analog, misoprostol (0.4 mg qds) may be useful although data isonly preliminary.NAC may minimize splanchnic vasodilation and NO production via reduced ROS formation- it has been shown in small trials to help renal function.Norepinephrine with albumin reported an 83 % rate of reversal and a reduction in [creatinine] in a small uncontrolled trial.Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt may provide short-term benefit.Peritoneovenous shunt shows a modest improvement in creatinine but complica-tions and survival is not improved.Dialysis may be useful for those awaiting liver transplant or possibility of liver func-tion improvement.30% of patients who required dialysis survived to liver transplantation.Renal replacement modalities may be better in view of the haemodynamic instabil-ity.Another dialysis technique, termed ascites reinfusion dialysis (ascites infused into dialysis membrane in 5%/95% mix) has been used but may result in DIC so it is not commonly used. Diagnostic Criteria for HRS:-Chronic/acute hepatic disease +advanced liver failure and PHTN.-[Creatinine] >133 µmol/L) progressing over days-weeks.-No other cause.-Urine red cell excretion < 50 cells/hpf (no urinary catheter) and protein excretion < 500 mg/day.-No improvement after iv albumin and withdrawal of diuretics.

Related Stories

Landscape of donor cause of death and its impact on liver transplant outcomes: a ten-year analysis from the UNOS database

Clinical management of liver cyst infections: an international, modified Delphi-based clinical decision framework

Advance on combination therapy strategies based on biomedical nanotechnology induced ferroptosis for cancer therapeutics

Obliteration of liver sinusoids through platelet aggregates associated to extramedullary haematopoiesis in myeloid neoplasms

Intraoperative hemodialysis with supra- and infradiaphragmatic catheters for liver transplantation