Published online Apr 18, 2015. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v7.i5.753
Peer-review started: August 29, 2014
First decision: October 14, 2014
Revised: November 10, 2014
Accepted: January 9, 2015
Article in press: January 12, 2015
Published online: April 18, 2015
Liver cirrhosis has evolved an important risk factor for cardiac surgery due to the higher morbidity and mortality that these patients may suffer compared with general cardiac surgery population. The presence of contributing factors for a poor outcome, such as coagulopathy, a poor nutritional status, an adaptive immune dysfunction, a degree of cirrhotic cardiomyopathy, and a degree of renal and pulmonary dysfunction, have to be taken into account for surgical evaluation when cardiac surgery is needed, together with the degree of liver disease and its primary complications. The associated pathophysiological characteristics that liver cirrhosis represents have a great influence in the development of complications during cardiac surgery and the postoperative course. Despite the population of cirrhotic patients who are referred for cardiac surgery is small and recommendations come from small series, since liver cirrhotic patients have increased their chance of survival in the last 20 years due to the advances in their medical care, which includes liver transplantation, they have been increasingly considered for cardiac surgery. Indeed, there is an expected rise of cirrhotic patients within the cardiac surgical population due to the increasing rates of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, especially in western countries. In consequence, a more specific approach is needed in the assessment of care of these patients if we want to improve their management. In this article, we review the pathophysiology and outcome prediction of cirrhotic patients who underwent cardiac surgery.
Core tip: Cardiovascular risk factors are the same for the development of cardiomyopathy and chronic liver disease. Despite cirrhosis is not a recognized risk factor within the risk scores for cardiac surgery, it is well known that its pathophysiological characteristics have the potential for a higher surgical risk and poor prognosis in the perioperative course. In addition, these types of patients are increasingly considered for cardiac surgery. Thus, there is a challenge in order to improve the outcome of these patients based on advances in procedures for cardiac surgeons and clinical perioperative management for physicians.