The development of chronic liver disease is associated with a high mortality owing to development of complications, such as bleeding from oesophageal varices and formation of ascites. Recently, there has been focus on the importance of extrahepatic complications, infections and immunological reactions.
The patients have a characteristic hyperdynamic circulation with disturbed haemodynamics and dysfunction of many organs with evidence of reduced function of the heart, lungs, brain, kidneys and adrenal glands. From a pathophysiological point of view bacterial translocation, pro-inflammatory cytokines, and a peripheral arterial vasodilatation lead to multiple extrahepatic complications as part of a multi-organ syndrome with upcome of new clinical entities.
There has been a long tradition at Hvidovre Hospital with cooperation between the units within The Centre for Functional Imaging and Research, the Gastro Unit, and Departments of Pathology and Biochemistry for the study of complications of cirrhosis and portal hypertension. Widespread international collaborations have also been established with centers in Barcelona, Bologna, Bonn, Calgary, London, Munich, and Padova.
The continued research in this area provides further insight into the pathophysiological mechanisms of these entities. Contemporary measurements of changes in haemodynamics, immunological and metabolic function are now performed by a combination of modern technologies within the hospital such as SPECT/CT, PET/CT, MRI, advanced catheterisations, and analyses of new biomarkers and cellular signal systems.