Background & Aims: Significantly worse survival has been reported in patients with hepatopulmonary syndrome (HPS) and partial pressure of arterial oxygen (PaO2) <45 mmHg undergoing liver transplantation. Long-term pre- and post-transplant outcomes based on degree of hypoxaemia were re-examined. Methods: A retrospective analysis of 1,152 HPS candidates listed with an approved HPS model for end-stage liver disease (MELD) exception was performed. A Fine and Gray competing risks model was utilised to evaluate pre-transplant outcomes for PaO2 thresholds of <45, 45 to <60, and ≥60 mmHg. Post-transplant survival was analysed using the Kaplan–Meier method. Results: Patients with a PaO2 <45 mmHg were significantly more likely to undergo transplantation (hazard ratio [HR] 1.51; 95% CI 1.12–2.03), whereas patients with higher MELD scores had lower hazard of transplant (HR 0.80, 95% CI 0.67–0.95, p = 0.011) and higher hazard of pre-transplant death (HR 2.29, 95% CI 1.55–3.37, p <0.001). Post-transplantation, patients with a PaO2 <45 mmHg had lower survival (p = 0.04) compared with patients with a PaO2 ≥45 to <50 mmHg, with survival curves significantly different at 2.6 years (75% survival compared with 86%) and median survival of 11.5 and 14.1 years, respectively. Cardiac arrest was a more likely (p = 0.025) cause of death for these patients. Cardiac arrest incidence in patients who died with a PaO2 >50 mmHg was 6.2%. Conclusions: Patients with a PaO2 <45 mmHg had a significantly higher rate of transplantation, and higher calculated MELD scores were associated with significantly higher pre-transplant mortality. Although post-transplant survival was lower in patients with a PaO2 <45 mmHg, the median survival was 11.5 years, and survival curves only became significantly different at 2.6 years. This suggests that patients with HPS do benefit from transplantation up to 2–3 years post-transplant regardless of the severity of pre-transplant hypoxaemia. Lay summary: A total of 1,152 patients with hepatopulmonary syndrome listed for liver transplant were analysed. Patients with a low PaO2 <45 mmHg had a high likelihood of transplantation. If associated with advanced liver disease, the mortality risk was higher for patients with hepatopulmonary syndrome on the wait list. After liver transplantation, patients with a PaO2 <45 mmHg had a lower survival, but this only became significant after 2.6 years, and the median survival was 11.5 years. This suggests that patients with hepatopulmonary syndrome do benefit from transplantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100351
JournalJHEP Reports
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Internal Medicine
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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