Vasomodulators and Liver Transplantation for Portopulmonary Hypertension: Evidence From a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Rebecca Deroo, Eric Trépo, Tom Holvoet, Michel De Pauw, Anja Geerts, Xavier Verhelst, Isabelle Colle, Hans Van Vlierberghe, Michael B. Fallon, Sarah Raevens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background and Aims: Untreated portopulmonary hypertension (PoPH) carries a poor prognosis. Previous reports have described vasomodulator (VM) therapy and liver transplantation (LT) as treatment options. We aimed to provide summary estimates on the endpoints of pulmonary hemodynamics and survival in patients with PoPH, treated with different modalities. Approach and Results: We performed a systematic review with meta-analysis of mainly observational and case-control studies describing no treatment, VM, LT, or VM + LT in patients with PoPH. Twenty-six studies (1,019 patients) were included. Both VM and VM + LT improve pulmonary hemodynamics. A substantial proportion of patients treated with VM become eligible for LT (44%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 31-58). Pooled estimates for 1-, and 3-year postdiagnosis survival in patients treated with VM were 86% (95% CI, 81-90) and 69% (95% CI, 50-84) versus 82% (95% CI, 52-95) and 67% (95% CI, 53-78) in patients treated with VM + LT. Of note, studies reporting on the effect of VM mainly included Child-Pugh A/B patients, whereas studies reporting on VM + LT mainly included Child-Pugh B/C. Seven studies (238 patients) included both patients who received VM only and patients who received VM + LT. Risk of death in VM-only–treated patients was significantly higher than in patients who could be transplanted as well (odds ratio, 3.5; 95% CI, 1.4-8.8); however, importantly, patients who proceeded to transplant had been selected very strictly. In 50% of patients, VM can be discontinued post-LT (95% CI, 38-62). Conclusions: VM and VM + LT both improve pulmonary hemodynamics and prognosis in PoPH. In a strictly selected subpopulation of cases where LT is indicated based on severe liver disease and where LT is considered safe and feasible, treatment with VM + LT confers a better prognosis. Considering successful VM, 44% can proceed to LT, with half being able to postoperatively stop medication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1701-1716
Number of pages16
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology


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