BMC Nephrology [electronic resource]
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The hepatic circulation is involved in adaptive systemic responses to circulatory stress. However, it is vulnerable to both chronic hypervolemia and cardiac dysfunction. The influence of hemodialysis (HD) and ultrafiltration (UF) upon liver water content has been understudied. We conducted a detailed pilot study to characterize the effects of HD upon liver water content and stiffness, referenced to peripheral fluid mobilization and total body water.
We studied 14 established HD patients without liver disease. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) together with ultrasound-based elastography and bioimpedance assessment were employed to measure hepatic water content and stiffness, body composition, and water content in the calf pre- and post-HD.
Mean UF volume was 8.13 ± 4.4 mL/kg/hr. Fluid removal was accompanied with effective mobilization of peripheral water (measured with MRI within the thigh) from 0.85 ± 0.21 g/mL to 0.83 ± 0.18 g/mL, and reduction in total body water (38.9 ± 9.4 L to 37.4 ± 8.6 L). However, directly-measured liver water content did not decrease (0.57 ± 0.1 mL/g to 0.79 ± 0.3 m L/g). Liver water content and IVC diameter were inversely proportional (r = - 0.57, p = 0.03), a relationship which persisted after dialysis.
In contrast to the reduced total body water content, liver water content did not decrease post-HD, consistent with a diversion of blood to the hepatic circulation, in those with signs of greater circulatory stress. This novel observation suggests that there is a unique hepatic response to HD with UF and that the liver may play a more important role in intradialytic hypotension and fluid shifts than currently appreciated.