Arterial oxygenation associated with portopulmonary hypertension

Karen L. Swanson, Michael J. Krowka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Study objectives: To characterize arterial oxygenation in patients referred to Mayo Clinic for liver transplantation with a diagnosis of portopulmonary hypertension (portoPH). Design: Prospective study. Setting: Liver transplantation program and pulmonary hypertension clinic in a tertiary referral center. Participants: Twenty consecutive patients with abnormal pulmonary hemodynamics documented by right-heart catheterization (mean pulmonary artery pressure [MPAP] ≥ 25 mm Hg, pulmonary vascular resistance [PVR] ≥ 120 dyne·s·cm-5, and pulmonary capillary wedge pressure [PCWP] ≤ 15 mm Hg). Liver transplant candidates with normal pulmonary hemodynamics via screening Doppler echocardiography (n = 40) served as control subjects. A subgroup of patients underwent postural and inspired 100% oxygen blood gas analysis, contrast echocardiography, and technetium-labeled macroaggregated albumin (99mTcMAA) lung/brain scanning to identify and quantitate the degree of intracardiac or intrapulmonary shunting. Measurements and results: portoPH was moderate to severe (MPAP ≥ 35 mm Hg) in 18 of 20 patients (90%). Arterial-alveolar oxygen pressure gradient (P[A-a]O2) was abnormal (≥ 20 mm Hg) in 16 of 20 patients (80%). PaO2 was abnormal (≤ 70 mm Hg) in 3 of 20 patients (15%). PaO2 was significantly less and P(A-a)O2 was significantly greater compared to control subjects (p ≤ 0.001). All patients had normal 99mTcMAA brain uptake (≤ 6%) and negative transthoracic contrast echocardiographic findings. No significant correlations were found between oxygenation and hemodynamic variables (MPAP, PVR, PVR index, and transpulmonary gradient). Conclusions: Arterial oxygenation associated with portoPH was frequently abnormal and significantly worse when compared to patients with normal pulmonary hemodynamics by Doppler echocardiography. Hypoxemia, as measured by PaO2 and P(A-a)O2, was usually mild even in the setting of moderate-to-severe portoPH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1869-1875
Number of pages7
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2002


  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Lung scanning
  • Portal hypertension
  • Pulmonary hemodynamics
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Shunt

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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