Treatment of Hepatopulmonary Syndrome With Allium Sativum L. (Garlic): A Pilot Trial

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No medical therapy exists for subjects with hepatopulmonary syndrome (HPS). A patient with HPS was reported to have improvement in arterial oxygenation while self-administering garlic. Our goal was to determine whether a standardized garlic powder improves arterial oxygenation and dyspnea in subjects with HPS. A prospective, open label uncontrolled pilot study in 15 subjects with HPS were administered garlic powder capsules daily for a minimum of 6 months. Arterial blood gases were determined every 4-8 weeks, in the same position on room air, and a subjective dyspnea transition index was reported. Six of 15 subjects (40%, confidence interval: 0.15-65) had at least a 10 mmHg increase in the Po2 or decrease in the alveolar-arterial gradient. The mean pre- and postarterial difference in these patients were: Po2 (14 ± 4 mmHg) and alveolar-arterial gradient (18 ± 5 mmHg). All 6 subjects who responded to garlic had less dyspnea on exertion. Garlic improved arterial oxygenation in younger subjects (mean 40 versus 56 years old; p = 0.021) or those with lower macroaggregated albumin shunt fractions (mean 21 versus 44%, p = 0.058). Garlic may improve arterial oxygenation and symptoms in patients with hepatopulmonary syndrome and warrants further investigation.

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