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Critical Care Research and Practice
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 539412, 13 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/539412
Review Article

The End-Organ Impairment in Liver Cirrhosis: Appointments for Critical Care

1Liver Transplantation Centre, Hospital Curry Cabral, 1069-166 Lisbon, Portugal
2Critical Care and Emergency CGU, Puerto Real University Hospital, 11510 Cadiz, Spain
3CEDOC, Faculdade de Ciências Médicas, 1169-056 Lisbon, Portugal
4Intensive Care Unit, Hospital Curry Cabral, 1069-166 Lisbon, Portugal

Received 19 October 2011; Revised 24 February 2012; Accepted 13 March 2012

Academic Editor: Mark T. Keegan

Copyright © 2012 Antonio Figueiredo 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.

Abstract

Liver cirrhosis (LC) can lead to a clinical state of liver failure, which can exacerbate through the course of the disease. New therapies aimed to control the diverse etiologies are now more effective, although the disease may result in advanced stages of liver failure, where liver transplantation (LT) remains the most effective treatment. The extended lifespan of these patients and the extended possibilities of liver support devices make their admission to an intensive care unit (ICU) more probable. In this paper the LC is approached from the point of view of the pathophysiological alterations present in LC patients previous to ICU admission, particularly cardiovascular, but also renal, coagulopathic, and encephalopathic. Infections and available liver detoxifications devices also deserve mentioning. We intend to contribute towards ICU physician readiness to the care for this particular type of patients, possibly in dedicated ICUs.