Total bile acid levels are associated with left atrial volume and cardiac output in patients with cirrhosis

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Abstract

Background and aims

Bile acids (BAs) are potent signaling molecules involved in the regulation of several metabolic and functional aspects of cardiovascular homeostasis. BA pool alteration in cirrhosis may contribute toward the development of hemodynamic and cardiac disturbances. We aimed to investigate the association between total BA levels and echocardiographic and biochemical markers of cardiac dysfunction in cirrhotic patients.

Methods

Cirrhotic patients were enrolled prospectively in this hypothesis-generating study and evaluated for cardiac and hemodynamic dysfunction through clinical, echocardiographic, and biochemical means. Associations between total serum BA concentrations and markers of systolic or diastolic dysfunction and the presence of cirrhotic cardiomyopathy were tested through univariate and multivariate analyses.

Results

Fifty-eight patients with cirrhosis were assessed in this monocentric study. 49 (85%) patients had decompensated cirrhosis according to the Child class. The median total BA level was 45 µmol/l. There was no correlation between BA levels and the etiology of cirrhosis (P=0.2), current alcohol use (P=0.8), sex (P=0.1), smoking status (P=0.2), age, or BMI. Systolic and diastolic dysfunction were rare in the cohort. Total BA levels associated with several echocardiographic parameters of the hyperdynamic syndrome in univariate analysis but only with left atrial volume in multivariate analysis (P=0.007). BA concentrations did not differ according to the presence of echocardiographically diagnosed cirrhotic cardiomyopathy in the two models tested.

Conclusion

Total serum BA levels are associated with enlarged left atrial volume and markers of the hyperdynamic circulation in patients with cirrhosis irrespective of the etiology or the severity of liver disease.

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