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Cardiac involvement in patients with cirrhosis: a focus on clinical features and diagnosis

Licata, Anna; Novo, Giuseppina; Colomba, Daniela; Tuttolomondo, Antonino; Galia, Massimo; Camma’, Calogero

Journal of Cardiovascular Medicine: January 2016 - Volume 17 - Issue 1 - p 26–36
doi: 10.2459/JCM.0000000000000288

Cirrhotic heart has been traditionally considered protected from cardiovascular disease, even if a large amount of literature has recently shown that patients affected by chronic liver disease are exposed to cardiovascular events, as well. Since the first recognition of cardiac involvement in cirrhosis, all published studies explain that decompensated cirrhotic patients suffer from haemodynamic changes, currently known as hyperdynamic syndrome, which finally lead to cirrhotic cardiomyopathy. This is defined by the presence of a subclinical systolic dysfunction unmasked under stress conditions, impaired diastolic function and electrophysiological abnormalities, in the absence of any known cardiac disease. In this review, we will discuss the clinical and diagnostic features of this condition, the prevalence of associated comorbidities, echocardiographic, electrocardiographic and cardiac magnetic resonance hallmarks and the possible diagnostic role of serum biomarkers.

aSezione di Gastroenterologia ed Epatologia

bSezione di Medicina Clinico-Sperimentale, Dipartimento di Medicina Interna e Specialistica, DIBIMIS, Università di Palermo, Italy

cDivisione di Cardiologia

dSezione di Radiologia, Dipartimento di Biopatologia e Biotecnologie Mediche, DiBiMEF, Università di Palermo, Palermo, Italy

Correspondence to Anna Licata, MD, Sezione di Gastroenterologia & Epatologia, DIBIMIS, Università di Palermo, Piazza delle Cliniche n. 2, Palermo 90127, Italy Tel: +39 091 6552280; fax: +39 091 6552156; e-mail:

Received 14 November, 2014

Revised 26 March, 2015

Accepted 4 April, 2015

© 2016 Italian Federation of Cardiology. All rights reserved.