New onset nonischemic cardiomyopathy post liver transplantation.
A new onset acute heart failure (HF) with a sudden drop in the left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) post orthotopic liver transplant (LT) is a rare but a potentially fatal complication. Because in most of the cases there is no evidence of coronary thrombosis, it can be classified as nonischemic cardiomyopathy. More specifically, clinical presentation of this syndrome shares many features with stress-induced or takotsubo cardiomyopathy. The known factors that predispose these patients to acute HF during or shortly after LT include cirrhotic cardiomyopathy, rapid hemodynamic changes during LT surgery, and the large concentrations of catecholamines, either administered or released endogenously during surgery. The hemodynamic changes during surgery, such as the drop in preload during the anhepatic phase (occasionally requiring massive transfusions and vasopressors) and subsequent increase in preload with acidic and hyperkalemic plasma in the reperfusion phase, lead to rapid electrolyte and hemodynamic shifts. In several cases, intraoperative onset of HF, with or without ventricular arrythmia, could be timed to the reperfusion phase (and occasionally in the anhepatic and pre-anhepatic phases). In other cases, the HF syndrome started hours to days post-surgery. Recovery of cardiac function occurred in the majority of patients during the same admission; however, these patients generally need significantly longer hospitalizations and aggressive supportive care (occasionally requiring mechanical ionotropic and ventilatory support). If recover, the patients have a similar 1-year mortality as those LT patients that did not have this complication. Because no reliable risk stratification currently exists, intraoperative transesophageal echocardiography might be the most dependable way of detecting and addressing this syndrome promptly. Given the mechanism of takotsubo cardiomyopathy, beta-blockade and a preferential use of non-catecholaminergic vasopressors may be a reasonable way to manage this syndrome.
Published In/Presented At
Guglin, M., & Nazif, K. (2022). New onset nonischemic cardiomyopathy post liver transplantation. Heart failure reviews, 27(5), 1829–1836. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10741-021-10196-5
Medicine and Health Sciences
Department of Medicine, Cardiology Division, Department of Medicine Fellows and Residents, Fellows and Residents