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Effects of 5-isosorbide mononitrate and propranolol on subclinical hepatic encephalopathy and renal function in patients with liver cirrhosis.

Author(s): Silva G, Segovia R, Ponce R, Backhouse C, Palma M, Roblero JP, Abadal J, Quijada C, Troncoso M, Iturriaga H

Affiliation(s): Clinica Las Condes, University of Chile, Santiago, Chile. mjpc@entelchile.net

Publication date & source: 2002-09, Hepatogastroenterology., 49(47):1357-62.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial

BACKGROUND/AIMS: In patients with cirrhosis pharmacological treatment of portal hypertension using beta-blockers and vasodilators has raised concerns for its potential deleterious effects on renal function and encephalopathy. To clarify this issue we evaluated the effects of propranolol and 5-isosorbide mononitrate or both on subclinical hepatic encephalopathy and renal function in a prospective randomized double-blinded study. METHODOLOGY: Thirty patients Child-Pugh A or B, with esophageal varices, normal renal function and non-previous pharmacological treatment were studied. After a basal period, patients received during 4 weeks 5-isosorbide mononitrate (80 mg/day) or placebo. In the next 4 weeks, propranolol was added to both groups. At baseline and at the end of each study period we assessed: renal function tests; plasma renin activity and aldosterone; subclinical hepatic encephalopathy (electroencephalograms, visual evoked potentials and psychometric studies). Mean arterial pressure, cardiac output (echo-Doppler) and indocyanine green retention were also measured. RESULTS: The most common alterations at baseline were increased arterial ammonia levels (85%), abnormal indocyanine green retention (75%), abnormal trail making B (44%), decreased inulin clearance (30%) and high plasma renin activity (27%). After 4 weeks of 5-isosorbide mononitrate or placebo no significant changes were observed in any variable. Five out of 14 patients receiving 5-isosorbide mononitrate were withdrawn due to side effects. The addition of propranolol decreased significantly plasma renin activity in both groups and cardiac output in those receiving 5-isosorbide mononitrate but did not change other variables. CONCLUSIONS: In patients with compensated or slightly decompensated liver cirrhosis 5-isosorbide mononitrate, propranolol or the association of both did not produce detectable worsening of subclinical hepatic encephalopathy or renal function.

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