Two cases of liver cirrhosis associated with marked hypoxemia are presented. Chest radiographs and cardiopulmonary function showed no abnormalities, except for the low diffusion capacity of carbon monoxide and slight elevation of the shunt ratio (20 and 6.2%, respectively), as estimated under conditions of 100% oxygen inhalation. Pulmonary perfusion imaging with Tc-99m macroaggregated albumin (MAA) revealed a significant radioisotope uptake in the lungs, brain, spleen, and both kidneys. Shunt ratios, estimated by the quantitative radionuclide method, were 60 and 68%, respectively. Dynamic pulmonary perfusion imaging revealed a gradual reduction in uptake in all areas of both lungs. The discrepancy of the shunt ratio between the two methods results from an abnormal dilatation of alveolar capillaries. The gradual reduction of radioactivity In areas of the lungs is caused by the passage of MAA particles through widened pulmonary capillaries.
Departments of Internal Medicine, Fukuoka University, Fukuoka, Japan
*Departments of Radiology, Fukuoka University, Fukuoka, Japan
†School of Medicine, Fukuoka University, Fukuoka, Japan