Hepatorenal syndrome

Definition of Hepatorenal syndrome

Hepatorenal syndrome is a condition in which there is progressive kidney failure in a person with of the liver. It is a serious and often life-threatening complication of cirrhosis.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Hepatorenal syndrome occurs when there is a decrease in kidney function in a person with a liver disorder. Because less urine is removed from the body, nitrogen-containing waste products build up in the bloodstream (azotemia).

Signs and tests

This condition is diagnosed when other causes of kidney failure are ruled out by the appropriate tests.


Treatment aims to improve liver function and ensure that there is enough blood volume in the body and that the heart is pumping it adequately.

Expectations (prognosis)

The predicted outcome is poor. Death usually occurs as a result of secondary infections or hemorrhage.


David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 5/4/2010

Male urinary system

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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