Acute kidney injury: new concepts. Hepatorenal syndrome: the role of vasopressors.

Research paper by Richard R Moreau, Didier D Lebrec

Indexed on: 20 Sep '08Published on: 20 Sep '08Published in: Nephron Physiology


Type 1 hepatorenal syndrome (HRS) is prerenal failure specific to decompensated cirrhosis. In patients with HRS, there is marked splanchnic/systemic vasodilation resulting in arterial hypotension, arterial baroreceptor unloading, overstimulation of the sympathetic nervous and renin-angiotensin systems. This reflex neurohumoral hyperactivity via endogenous vasoconstrictors/vasopressors such as angiotensin II and noradrenaline induces arterial vasoconstriction in different extrasplanchnic vascular beds (including preglomerular arteries in the kidneys). Decreased arterial pressure (i.e. low renal perfusion pressure) and preglomerular vasoconstriction are thought to play a major role in the decline of the glomerular filtration rate (GFR). Nonrandomized studies in patients with HRS have shown that the administration of a splanchnic vasoconstrictor (vasopressin analogue or alpha(1)-adrenoceptor agonist), usually combined with intravenous albumin, causes increases in arterial pressure, arterial baroreceptor uploading, decreased neurohumoral activity, decreased renal vascular resistance, and increased GFR. Randomized clinical trials have shown that treatment with a combination of the vasopressin analogue terlipressin and intravenous albumin improves renal function in patients with type 1 HRS. Vasopressor therapy with terlipressin plus intravenous albumin is the medical treatment of choice for type 1 HRS.