Anesthesia for Patients With Liver Disease

Rahimzadeh, Poupak; Safari, Saeid; Faiz, Seyed Hamid Reza; Alavian, Seyed Moayed
July 2014
Hepatitis Monthly;Jul2014, Vol. 14 Issue 7, p1
Academic Journal
Context: Liver plays an important role in metabolism and physiological homeostasis in the body. This organ is unique in its structure and physiology. So it is necessary for an anesthesiologist to be familiar with various hepatic pathophysiologic conditions and consequences of liver dysfunction. Evidence Acquisition: We searched MEDLINE (Pub Med, OVID, MD Consult), SCOPUS and the Cochrane database for the following keywords: liver disease, anesthesia and liver disease, regional anesthesia in liver disease, epidural anesthesia in liver disease and spinal anesthesia in liver disease, for the period of 1966 to 2013. Results: Although different anesthetic regimens are available in modern anesthesia world, but anesthetizing the patients with liver disease is still really tough. Spinal or epidural anesthetic effects on hepatic blood flow and function is not clearly investigated, considering both the anesthetic drug-induced changes and outcomes. Regional anesthesia might be used in patients with advanced liver disease. In these cases lower drug dosages are used, considering the fact that locally administered drugs have less systemic effects. In case of general anesthesia it seems that using inhalation agents (Isoflurane, Desflurane or Sevoflurane), alone or in combination with small doses of fentanyl can be considered as a reasonable regimen. When administering drugs, anesthetist must realize and consider the substantially changed pharmacokinetics of some other anesthetic drugs. Conclusions: Despite the fact that anesthesia in chronic liver disease is a scary and pretty challenging condition for every anesthesiologist, this hazard could be diminished by meticulous attention on optimizing the patient's condition preoperatively and choosing appropriate anesthetic regimen and drugs in this setting. Although there are paucity of statistics and investigations in this specific group of patients but these little data show that with careful monitoring and considering the above mentioned rules a safe anesthesia could be achievable in these patients.


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