Hepatorenal syndrome

By Medically reviewed by hellodoktor

Know the basics

What is hepatorenal syndrome?

Hepatorenal syndrome (HRS) is a type of progressive kidney failure seen in individual with severe liver damage, most frequently caused by liver failure. When the kidneys stop functioning, toxins begin to develop in the body. Eventually, this leads to liver failure. HRS is an extremely serious condition. It’s almost always fatal. There are two primary forms of HRS:

  • Type 1 HRS is connected with rapid kidney failure and an overproduction of creatinine.
  • Type 2 HRS is associated with more gradual kidney damage. It generally progresses more slowly. Symptoms are generally milder.


How common is hepatorenal syndrome?

The condition is quite common, it occurs in nearly 10% of all patients with ascites and about 20% of all cases of acute kidney.

However, it can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.


What are the symptoms of hepatorenal syndrome?

Symptoms of HRS should be treated as a medical emergency. If you have any of these following signs and symptoms, contact your doctor immediately. Treatment is particularly urgent if you’re currently being treated for other kidney problems.

Some common signs and symptoms of HRS may include:

  • Confusion
  • Delirium
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dementia
  • Weight gain
  • Jaundice (yellowing of your skin and eyes)
  • Decreased urine output
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Swollen abdomen


When should I see my doctor?

Early diagnosis and treatment can stop this condition from worsening and prevent another medical emergency, so talk to your doctor as soon as possible to prevent this serious condition.

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consulting with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.


What causes hepatorenal syndrome?

Hepatorenal syndrome usually affects patients with cirrhosis and patients with hypertension. While HRS may develop in any type of cirrhosis, it is most common in individuals with alcoholic cirrhosis. HRS can also occur in individuals without cirrhosis, but with acute onset of liver failure due to other liver conditions.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for hepatorenal syndrome?

You seem to have a higher risk of hepatorenal syndrome, if you own some condition listed below:

  • Unstable blood pressure
  • Use of diuretics
  • Acute alcoholic hepatitis
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis
  • Other infections (especially in the kidneys)

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.


How is hepatorenal syndrome diagnosed?

If your doctor suspects that you may experience this condition, a physical examination will be performed; they will look for signs of HRS such as: swollen, breast tissue, sores on the skin, fluid buildup in the abdomen, jaundice.

Nest, they will ask specific questions about your medical history, and some tests will be also recommended, such as a series of blood and urine tests. The tests will help your doctor evaluate your liver and kidney function.

In rare cases, HRS can occur in patients whose liver has been damaged by other causes than cirrhosis. If you don’t have cirrhosis, your doctor may order additional tests for viral or alcoholic hepatitis.


How is hepatorenal syndrome treated?          

Medications called vasoconstrictors can help with the low blood pressure caused by HRS. Dialysis may be used to improve kidney symptoms. This type of medication filters harmful wastes, excess salt, and excess water from your blood. It’s performed in a hospital or dialysis clinic.

Liver transplants are the most effective treatment for HRS. The waiting list for a liver transplant is long and many people die before a liver is available. If you can get a transplant, your chance of survival improves greatly.

Complications of HRS normally appear during end-stage kidney disease. They include:

  • Fluid overload
  • Secondary infections
  • Organ damage
  • Coma

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage hepatorenal syndrome?

The only certain way to prevent HRS is to keep your liver healthy. To reduce your risk of developing cirrhosis, avoid drinking excessive amounts of alcohol.

You should also try to prevent contracting hepatitis. Hepatitis A and B can be prevented by vaccination. There’s currently no vaccine against hepatitis C. Some measures you can take to prevent hepatitis C include:

  • Washing your hands after shaking hands
  • Having your sex partner get tested for hepatitis C
  • Not sharing needles with anyone
  • Not using illegal drugs
  • Consistently practicing safe sex

Some causes of cirrhosis are unpreventable. If you’re at risk for developing cirrhosis, your doctor may monitor your liver function regularly. They may also order blood and imaging tests to detect early signs of the condition.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: February 12, 2017 | Last Modified: September 12, 2019

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