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Hemodynamic effects of propranolol and nitrates in cirrhotics with transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic stent-shunt.

Author(s): Brensing KA, Horsch M, Textor J, Schiedermaier P, Raab P, Schepke M, Strunk H, Schild H, Sauerbruch T

Affiliation(s): Dept of Internal Medicine, University of Bonn, Germany.

Publication date & source: 2002-09, Scand J Gastroenterol., 37(9):1070-6.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial

BACKGROUND: The combination of tailored TIPS with vasoactive drugs might allow reduction of the rate of subsequent shunt-related sequelae. METHODS: We studied cirrhotic patients 8 weeks (median) after TIPS insertion (8-10 mm) for variceal bleeding. Nitrate (0.1 mg/kg) and propranolol (0.15 mg/kg) alone or combined (same dosages) were infused (I h) sequentially at 1-h intervals (n = 17). Similarly, propranolol was randomly compared to placebo (NaCl, n = 14). We measured mean arterial pressure (MAP, mmHg), heart rate (HR) and portal pressure gradient (PPG: portal minus central venous pressure) prior to and after drugs. RESULTS: Propranolol reduced PPG (mean +/- s, mmHg) significantly (14.8 +/- 3.7 versus 12.1 +/- 3.7; -21% +/- 10%; P < 0.001), while nitrates alone (14.3 +/- 3.4 versus 13.7 +/- 3.4; -11% +/- 3%; P=0.06) or nitrates plus propranolol (12.9 +/- 4 versus 12.4 +/- 4; -7% +/- 8%; P=0.2) induced only minor additive effects on portal pressure. However, nitrate reduced MAP (P < 0.001) and increased HR (P < 0.01), whereas propranolol reduced only HR (P < 0.001) with unchanged MAP, and the combination decreased MAP (P < 0.001). Compared to placebo (no effect), propranolol decreased PPG (14.4 +/- 5.6 versus 11.1 +/- 5.5; -23% +/- 11%; P < 0.001) and HR (P < 0.001). Overall, most patients (92%) responded to propranolol and 54% showed a marked PPG decrease (>20%). CONCLUSIONS: Propranolol significantly reduced portal pressure in cirrhotic patients after TIPS, whereas nitrates induced only minor benefit. TIPS-treated patients might therefore profit from additive propranolol therapy allowing limited shunts to be applied initially and/or to reduce the need for TIPS revisions in the case of shunt-dysfunction during follow-up.

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