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Cystic FibrosisHealth Professionals Blog

Respiratory problems associated with liver disease in children

Title: Respiratory problems associated with liver disease in children

Source: Breathe 2024, 20 (1): 230150

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Date of publication: March 2024

Publication type: Review article

Abstract: Respiratory manifestations of chronic liver disease have a profound impact on patient clinical outcomes. Certain conditions within paediatric liver disease have an associated respiratory pathology. This overlap between liver and respiratory manifestations can result in complex challenges when managing patients and requires clinicians to be able to recognise when referral to specialists is required. While liver transplantation is at the centre of treatment, it opens up further potential for respiratory complications. It is established that these complications place patients at risk of longer stays in hospital and reduced survival. Additionally, late post-transplant complications can occur, including post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease and immunosuppression-induced interstitial lung disease. Although rare, it is important for clinicians to recognise these conditions to allow for prompt management. Finally, as liver disease progresses in children, respiratory complications can occur. Hepatopulmonary syndrome can occur in the context of portal hypertension, resulting in increased mortality and poorer quality of life for patients. Another consequence is portopulmonary hypertension, which can be associated with poor survival. Failure to recognise these complications in children may result in poorer outcomes and therefore it is vital that clinicians can establish when referral to a paediatric respiratory medicine specialist is required.

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