The heart connection

Cardiac changes with biliary atresia (BA) are surprisingly common– Gastoenterology 2011; 141: 1264-72.  In this study, 48 patients with BA, listed for liver transplantation, underwent echocardiography between 2004-2010.  The median age was 8 months.  Significant increases in left ventricle wall thickness (23% increase) and mass (51% increase) were noted; in addition, functional changes were noted as there was an increase in LV shortening fraction (8% increase).  Features of ‘cirrhotic cardiomyopathy’ were evident in 72% of infants (29/40).  The authors conclude that these heart changes likely contribute to prolongation of posttransplant hospitalization.

Additional References:

  • -J Am Coll Cardiol 2010; 56: 539-49
  • -J Hepatol 2010; 53: 179-90.

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