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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 670139, 10 pages
Review Article

Pharmacological Treatment for Hepatopulmonary Syndrome

1Department of Internal Medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
2Division of Hepato-Gastroenterology, Department of Internal Medicine, Kangnam St. Mary Hospital, Catholic University Medical College, Seoul, Republic of Korea

Received 25 April 2013; Revised 30 July 2013; Accepted 12 August 2013

Academic Editor: Kusum Kharbanda

Copyright © 2013 Ahad Eshraghian et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Aim. Hepatopulmonary syndrome is a pulmonary dysfunction in the context of liver cirrhosis characterized by arterial deoxygenation. Affected patients have increased morbidity and mortality, and many of them expire before undergoing liver transplantation. Therefore, finding medical therapy as a bridge to transplantation or as a final treatment is necessary. In this study, we aimed to review the current literature about pharmacological options available for treatment of hepatopulmonary syndrome. Methods. A PubMED and Scopus search was conducted in January 2013 on the English literature published in any time period to find human and animal studies reporting pharmacological therapy of hepatopulmonary syndrome. Results. Out of 451 studies, 29 relevant articles were included. The number of patients, type, dose, duration, and mechanism of drugs in these studies was extracted and summarized separately. Most of pharmacologic agents act through inhibition of nitric oxide synthase and reduction in nitric oxide production, inactivation of endothelin-1, and treatment of bacterial translocation and pulmonary angiogenesis. Conclusion. Several drugs have been applied for the treatment of HPS with conflicting results. However, no large randomized trial has been conducted probably due to low number of patients. Multicentered clinical trials are necessary to investigate these drugs.