Diagnosis and management of renal dysfunction in patients with cirrhosis

Carrion AF1, Radhakrishnan R2, Martin P1. Expert Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2019 Dec 30:1-7. doi: 10.1080/17474124.2020.1708190. [Epub ahead of print]


Author information

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL, USA.

University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL, USA.


Introduction: Renal dysfunction commonly occurs in patients with cirrhosis and is typically associated with poor prognosis. Several pathophysiologic mechanisms are responsible for renal disease in these patients, prompt identification permits individualized management.Areas covered: Pathophysiology, evaluation and differential diagnosis, management and prognosis of renal disease in patients with cirrhosis. Special focus on management of hepatorenal syndrome and indications for simultaneous liver-kidney transplantation.Literature search methodology: a detailed literature search was performed using PubMed without date restrictions. Published guidelines and position papers were also used and cross-referenced to identify additional studies.Expert opinion: The prognostic significance of renal dysfunction in patients with cirrhosis is highlighted by the inclusion of serum creatinine in the model for end-stage liver disease (MELD). Both acute and chronic renal dysfunction result in increased mortality in patients with cirrhosis, although there are marked differences related to the etiology of renal disease. Early recognition and prompt intervention determined by the most likely etiology are key in the management of these patients. Simultaneous liver-kidney transplantation improves patient survival compared to isolated liver transplantation in patients with cirrhosis and persistent renal impairment; however, selection of candidates must be judicious and individualized due to the ongoing shortage of donor kidneys.

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