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Cardiac involvement in non-cirrhotic portal hypertension: MRI detects myocardial fibrosis and oedema similar to compensated cirrhosis.

European heart journal. Cardiovascular Imaging

Authors: Alexander Isaak, Johannes Chang, Narine Mesropyan, Dmitrij Kravchenko, Christoph Endler, Leon Bischoff, Nina Böhling, Claus C Pieper, Daniel Kuetting, Christian P Strassburg, Ulrike Attenberger, Christian Jansen, Michael Praktiknjo, Julian A Luetkens

AIMS: The exact role of portal hypertension in cirrhotic cardiomyopathy remains unclear, and it is uncertain whether cardiac abnormalities also occur in non-cirrhotic portal hypertension (NCPH). This magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study aimed to evaluate the presence of subclinical myocardial dysfunction, oedema, and fibrosis in NCPH.

METHODS AND RESULTS: In this prospective study (2018-2022), participants underwent multiparametric abdominal and cardiac MRI including assessment of cardiac function, myocardial oedema, late gadolinium enhancement (LGE), and abdominal and cardiac mapping [T1 and T2 relaxation times, extracellular volume fraction (ECV)]. A total of 111 participants were included [44 participants with NCPH (48 ± 15 years; 23 women), 47 cirrhotic controls, and 20 healthy controls]. The cirrhotic group was dichotomized (Child A vs. Child B/C). NCPH participants demonstrated a more hyperdynamic circulation compared with healthy controls (cardiac index: 3.7 ± 0.6 vs. 3.2 ± 0.8 L/min/m², P = 0.004; global longitudinal strain: -27.3 ± 4.6 vs. -24.6 ± 3.5%, P = 0.022). The extent of abnormalities indicating myocardial fibrosis and oedema in NCPH was comparable with Child A cirrhosis (e.g. LGE presence: 32 vs. 33 vs. 69%, P = 0.004; combined T1 and T2 elevations: 46 vs. 27 vs. 69%, P = 0.017; NCPH vs. Child A vs. Child B/C). Correlations between splenic T1 and myocardial T1 values were found (r = 0.41; P = 0.007). Splenic T1 values were associated with the presence of LGE (odds ratio, 1.010; 95% CI: 1.002, 1.019; P = 0.013).

CONCLUSION: MRI parameters of myocardial fibrosis and oedema were altered in participants with NCPH to a similar extent as in compensated cirrhosis and were associated with splenic markers of portal hypertension, indicating specific portal hypertensive cardiomyopathy.

© The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email:

PMID: 36423215

Participating cluster members