Hepatorenal Syndrome Managed with Hemodialysis, then Reversed by Peritoneovenous Shunting

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A patient with acute decompensated chronic liver disease developed acute tubular necrosis after an episode of hypotension. Renal failure was managed by hemodialysis for 11 weeks during which period hepatic function improved. Despite persistently severe oliguria, tubular function recovered as judged by a fall in urine sodium content and a rise in specific gravity, suggesting the development of the hepatorenal syndrome. Therefore, a peritoneovenous shunt was inserted. This was followed by a prompt diuresis; further dialysis was not required. This case suggests potential roles for hemodialysis and peritoneovenous shunting in patients with advanced, but potentially reversible hepatic and renal failure and draws attention to the need for formal evaluation of such a possibility.

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