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VOLUME 24 , ISSUE 12 ( December, 2020 ) > List of Articles


What Every Intensivist should Know about Impairment of Cardiac Function and Arrhythmias in Liver Disease Patients: A Review

Sanjeev Arya, Bhuwan Tiwari, Shantanu Belwal, Sanjay Saxena

Citation Information : Arya S, Tiwari B, Belwal S, Saxena S. What Every Intensivist should Know about Impairment of Cardiac Function and Arrhythmias in Liver Disease Patients: A Review. Indian J Crit Care Med 2020; 24 (12):1251-1255.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10071-23695

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Published Online: 22-02-2021

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2020; The Author(s).


Objectives: Impairment of cardiac function and arrhythmias often coexist in patients with liver diseases. Many studies have proved this coexistence and put forward various theories toward its pathophysiology. This narrative review tries to find the answers with supporting evidence on five main questions: • Do high serum bilirubin levels have a strong association with cardiac arrhythmias? • Can corrected QT interval (QTc) be relied upon for predicting a risk factor toward imminent arrhythmias? • Is there an association between QTc prolongation and mortality? • Are high serum bilirubin and cardiac dysfunction closely associated? • What is the probable pathophysiology behind this association? Materials and methods: Clinical evidence was obtained by using search engines, namely, Cochrane Library, PubMed, and Google Scholar. Studies published in journals in the English language, between January 1969 and December 2019, which mentioned the relationship between cardiac arrhythmia and liver disease, were included. We used the keywords: jaundice, bilirubin, arrhythmia, ECG, QTc interval, QT dispersion, liver, and cirrhosis. Relevant animal or human studies answering the five main questions were extracted and reviewed. Conclusion: The evidence included in our review sheds light on the fact that approximately 50% of liver cirrhosis cases develop cirrhotic cardiomyopathy (CC) and there has been an association between liver abnormalities and cardiac pathology. The present review also supports that there exists a strong association between high levels of serum bilirubin levels and cardiac arrhythmias, QTc value can be relied upon as a risk factor for predicting imminent arrhythmias, and that it is associated with mortality. Its basic pathophysiology can be explained by the potential action of bile acids in prolonging the QT interval. It also causes cardiac hypertrophy and apoptosis of cardiomyocytes leading to cardiac dysfunction.

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