The prevalence of hepatopulmonary syndrome (HPS) and its influence on survival before and after liver transplantation (LT) remain controversial. Additionally, the chronology of post-LT reversibility is unclear. This study prospectively analyzed 316 patients with cirrhosis who were evaluated for LT in 2002–2007; 177 underwent LT at a single reference hospital. HPS was defined by a partial pressure of arterial oxygen (PaO2) <70 mmHg and/or an alveolar-arterial oxygen gradient (A-a PO2) ≥20 mmHg in the supine position and positive contrast echocardiography. The prevalence of HPS was 25.6% (81/316 patients), and most patients (92.6%) had mild or moderate HPS. High Child-Pugh scores and the presence of ascites were independently associated with HPS. Patients with and without HPS did not significantly differ in LT waiting list survival (mean 34.6 months vs. 41.6 months, respectively; log-rank, p = 0.13) or post-LT survival (mean 45 months vs. 47.6 months, respectively; log-rank, p = 0.62). HPS was reversed in all cases within 1 year after LT. One-fourth of the patients with cirrhosis who were evaluated for LT had HPS (mostly mild to moderate); the presence of HPS did not affect LT waiting list survival. HPS was always reversed after LT, and patient prognosis did not worsen.
This prospective study investigates hepatopulmonary syndrome in cirrhotic patients evaluated for liver transplantation, finding a 25% prevalence, mostly mild or moderate, without any influence on the waiting list and posttransplantation survival and with reversibility in all cases after transplant.